Medical professionals weigh in on pros & cons of vaccination

Medical professionals weigh in on pros & cons of vaccination

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - No measles cases have been reported here in South Carolina, but the outbreak of the highly contagious disease is now in 14 other states.

That is fueling debate to vaccinate or not.

In a Mount Pleasant pediatrician's office, nurse Karen Willis mixes the MMR vaccine which will protect a young patient against the Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

Pediatrician Dr. Jill Aiken tells her parents the vaccine was developed because the diseases are dangerous.

"And 99 percent of them proceed with some sort of vaccination and we get there one way or another," she said.

But Chiropractor, Dr. Justin James and his family take a proactive approach to health, which means no vaccinations.

"We have four kids that are all fully unvaccinated," James said in an interview in his Summerville office.

It's a practice Rachael James passes on from her childhood.

"No vaccines for me or my three other siblings," she said.

Dr. James doesn't tell his patients not to vaccinate but he wants them to be aware they have the right not to. The measles outbreak doesn't worry him a bit. It's the vaccine this couple believes is the risk.

"It could be something as major as death and seizures all the way down to minimal brain damage and disabilities and things like that," Dr. James said.

But permanent brain damage is also what Dr. Jill Aiken says can result from the measles.

"For people that will listen, get vaccinated. There's a huge risk. We'll see this in South Carolina very soon," she said.

Dr. Aiken gives the MMR vaccine at 15 months.

Another shot is recommended when children head to college or leave high school.

Vaccinations are required for students in public private and parochial schools in South Carolina.

But not all students are vaccinated. Exemptions are granted for medical or religious reasons.

According to the State Health Department, of the 778,588 students in schools across our state, 7366 students of are exempt from vaccines.

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