NY, THE MEASLES, & YOUR CHILD

Facing a rising number of cases of measles in New York State, lawmakers are proposing a bill that would let teens get vaccinated without their parents’ consent. But does that infringe on parents’ rights? We have the report.

Aired on March 18, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

NATIONALLY, MORE THAN 200 CASES OF MEASLES HAVE BEEN REPORTED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR.

ASTOUNDINGLY, HERE IN NEW YORK OVER SPO130 CASES IN BROOKLYN ALONE.

PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND HEALTH EXPERTS ARE WARNING PARENTS EVERYWHERE TO NOT ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO ATTEND SCHOOL IF THEY HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED.

GOING ONE STEP FURTHER, SOME NEW YORK LAWMAKERS HAVE INTRODUCED A BILL TO HELP UNDERAGED CHILDREN GET VACCINATED WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT IF THEY IN FACT WANT TO BE VACCINATED.

HERE WITH SOME MORE INFORMATION ON ALL OF THIS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE GUESTS HERE DR. DEBBIE, PHYSICIAN AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

IT'S GOOD TO BE HERE.

LET'S START OFF WITH A LESSON, IF YOU WILL.

ABOUT MEASLES.

WE ALL TEND TO THINK WE KNOW WHAT MEASLES ARE, BUT I WAS ASTONISHED IN PREPARING THIS SEGMENT WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW.

SURE.

MEASLES IS A DEADLY DISEASE.

NORMALLY WHEN WE THINK ABOUT DANGEROUS AND DEADLY DISEASES, YOU MIGHT THINK ABOUT HIV, ZIKA, EBOLA, THESE ARE THE THINGS WE HEAR ABOUT, BECAUSE WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN EXPOSED TO THE VACCINE FOR THE MOST PART.

SO IT'S BEEN MUCH SAFER.

WE DON'T HEAR ABOUT PEOPLE TYPICALLY DYING FROM MEASLES.

BEFORE THE VACCINE, BEFORE 1963 WHEN PEOPLE REPORTED THIS, THERE WERE ABOUT 6,000 DEATHS PER YEAR ACROSS THE GLOBE RELATED TO MEASLES.

THAT'S CDC DATA.

SO NOW WITH MEASLES, THE SYMPTOMS THAT PEOPLE HAVE ARE TYPICALLY REGULAR COLD SYMPTOMS.

THEY CAN HAVE RUNNY NOSE, MAYBE A COUGH, HIGH FEVER.

NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD NECESSARILY SPOT.

AS IT EVOLVES, PEOPLE CAN GET A RASH THAT COMES HEAD TO TOE.

BUT IF IT PROGRESSES, PEOPLE CAN GET HOSPITALIZED.

IN THE WORST CASES THEY CAN HAVE BRAIN SWELLING, DEAFNESS AND DEATH.

ANY OF THESE COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN.

AND THE ESTIMATE RIGHT NOW IS THAT FOR EVERY THOUSAND KIDS THAT GET MEASLES, ONE TO TWO WILL DIE.

TALK ABOUT THE VACCINE.

WHAT DOES THE VACCINE DO TO PROTECT US?

THE VACCINE IS A TEACHING TOOL, LIKE ANY VACCINE.

IT'S BASICALLY THAT YOU'RE EXPOSING YOUR BODY TO EITHER A WEAK OR, YOU KNOW, PART OF A VIRUS.

SO ANY VACCINE WILL DO THAT.

AND THEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN FIGHT IT AND JUST LEARN FROM THAT PROCESS HOW TO FIGHT THE REAL VIRUS THAT EVER COMES IN CONTACT WITH IT.

SO BASICALLY, BY GETTING VACCINATED, YOU DON'T HAVE 100% CHANCE OF BEING PROTECTED FROM MEASLES.

BUT IT'S IN THE 90% RANGE.

SO IT DEPENDS.

93 TO 97%, DEPENDING ON HOW MANY DOSES YOU GET.

EVEN A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN VACCINATED TWICE IS STILL AT RISK OF GETTING THE MEASLES.

IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED, THERE IS A MUCH HIGHER RISK.

THERE THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ESTIMATES IF 95% OF PEOPLE GET VACCINATED, SO 95%, THEN EACH PERSON WHO HAS BEEN VACCINATED ACTS AS A SHIELD, A HUMAN SHIELD AGAINST THE VIRUS.

EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE VACCINATION, IF YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED, YOU TOO WILL BE PROTECTED.

SO THERE IS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE HERE.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, IF YOU HAVE A CERTAIN THRESHOLD OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T GET VACCINATED, EVEN IF YOU ARE VACCINATED, YOU ARE STILL AT RISK.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST CONTAGIOUS VIRUSES ON EARTH.

SO IT CAN BE SPREAD JUST BEING IN THE SAME ROOM.

EVEN IF A PERSON WHO HAS MEASLES LEFT THE ROOM FOR TWO HOURS, YOU CAN CATCH IT.

WHY HAVE WE SEEN MOST RECENTLY THIS ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT?

WELL, I'VE SEEN A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT THINGS EVEN IN THE PAST TEN YEARS.

ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, THE MAIN CONCERN BROUGHT UP WAS AUTISM, THAT VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM.

THE REPORT THAT GOT OUT THAT HAS SINCE BEEN DISCREDITED.

EXACTLY.

SO IT'S BEEN DISCREDITED.

THE PERSON WHO WROTE IT WAS ACCUSED OF FRAUD.

ON TOP OF THAT THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT THAT'S NOT TRUE.

AS TIME EVOLVED, I HEAR OH, IF YOU GET THE VACCINE, YOU GET THE ILLNESS.

YOU CAN GET SICK FROM THE VACCINE THAT IS NOT TRUE EITHER, BUT NEVERTHELESS, THE NEWEST THING I'M HEARING WHICH IS THE MOST CONCERNING IS MORE THIS ATTITUDE THAT WE DON'T NEED THE VACCINE BECAUSE THIS ILLNESS HAS BEEN ERADICATED, WHICH UP UNTIL RECENTLY, FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS WE THOUGHT WE HAD DEFEATED MEASLES.

SO THE ISSUE THERE IS THE PEOPLE WHO PROMOTE THIS IDEA UNDERSTAND THE HERD EFFECT TO SOME DEGREE.

IF YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE IMMUNE, THEN YOU MIGHT BE PROTECTED AS WELL.

BUT THE ISSUE THERE IS IF YOU DON'T GET VACCINATED AND EVERYBODY ASSUMES THAT SAME ATTITUDE, THEN NONE OF US ARE PROTECTED.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT FROM HAVING THE VACCINE.

AND NOT ONLY, THAT YOU PROTECT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.

IF THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION GETS PASSED, WHICH ESSENTIALLY SAYS THAT CHILDREN WHO ORDINARILY WOULD BE CONSIDERED UNDERAGED, THEY CAN GET VACCINATED EVEN WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THEIR PARENTS.

IF IT GETS PASSED, OBVIOUSLY, AS A PHYSICIAN, YOU HAVE THE WEIGHT OF THE LAW ON YOUR SIDE.

WOULD IT BE CONCERNING DO YOU THINK EVEN THOUGH THE LAW WOULD BE ON THE SIDE OF PHYSICIANS TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS NOTION, A PARENT SAYING NO AND THE CHILD SAYING YES?

I THINK IT'S DIFFICULT.

SO FIRST OF ALL, I AM IN FAVOR OF THE KIDS GETTING VACCINATED, EVEN IF THE PARENTS ARE OPPOSED TO IT.

I THINK IT'S BETTER AND SAFER FOR THE CHILD.

AS OPPOSED TO GETTING SOMEBODY ANGRY.

I THINK THAT'S AN EASY DECISION.

EXACTLY.

BUT IT'S NOT CONSEQUENCE-FREE.

SO THE ISSUE IS LET'S SAY YOU HAVE A CONFLICT WITH THE PARENT.

YOU COULD HAVE LEGAL ISSUES RELATED TO THAT.

PEOPLE COULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT MALPRACTICE, RIGHT.

THEY COULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT INSURANCE ISSUES, WHOSE PAYING FOR THIS.

AND THEN MORE IMPORTANTLY THAN THAT, I THINK IF YOU HAVE A CONFLICT WITH THE PARENT, MAYBE THEY WON'T BRING THAT CHILD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

AND MAYBE THERE IS ANOTHER ISSUE THAT COULD BE DEALT WITH OR TREATED OR SOME OTHER HEALTH CONCERN THAT THE CHILD HAS OR THE PARENT HAS.

IT'S REALLY VERY TRICKY.

IT'S NOT ALWAYS SIMPLE.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

I ALWAYS FEEL MUCH SMARTER AFTER I TALK YOU.

YOU DO A GREAT JOB EXPLAINING THIS WELL FOR US.

YOU DO.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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