Doctors Warn to Immunize

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Despite recent outbreaks of deadly diseases, the CDC is seeing immunization rates dropping in Michigan, and the numbers have local doctors concerned.

"It is frightening. It's scary," said Kenneth Elmassian, the President of the Michigan State Medical Society.

28 percent of two-year-olds are not up-to-date on the recommended vaccines. Teens are even more vulnerable. 37 percent don't have all their shots.

"Those were very disturbing numbers," said Elmassian. "We've had a decline but not enough of a decline to satisfy the medical community that we are doing the right thing."

The shots are key to protecting kids from deadly diseases that are entirely preventable. For example last year there were nearly 850 cases of whooping cough in the state. A three-year old died because of the outbreak.

"If we have an entire population that's vulnerable to these diseases we are going to see bigger and larger outbreaks of these diseases," said Bob Swanson who works at the Michigan Department of Community Health.

This year the outlook isn't any better.

"To me the best incentive is a healthy child, that is by far the best incentive," said Swanson.

Doctors are urging parents to make sure their kids get the vaccines.

"My perspective as a physician, immunizations are probably one of the top five modern medicine miracles in the past 50 years," said Elmassian.

Making sure kids get all the shots they need comes with its challenges, but it's a decision that could save their life, or at least prevent illness.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

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