BANGOR – There has been a lot of attention placed on the current measles outbreak in Washington state and now there are reports of a mumps outbreak in Texas. The Maine Center for Disease control and prevention reports a rise in whooping cough cases. We take a look at what vaccinations are required and why some parents oppose them.
The Maine Center for Disease control and Prevention reports in 2018 there were 446 whooping cough cases in Maine. That’s 36 more cases than in 2017.
“There is less community immunity which is a decrease in vaccination,” said Doctor Victoria Davenport at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
According to doctor Davenport, many of these diseases can be prevented by vaccinations.
“When you get vaccinated, it’s almost like a roadblock preventing the spread of that disease,” said Davenport.
But some parents say they’re currently against giving their children these vaccinations. They say it causes more harm than good.
“You think the worst as a parent” said Angie Kenney, “In the beginning it was when she would wake up for her nap. So she would shake and tremble and her eyes would be squibbly,” she said.
Angie said her daughter Nevaeh began walking at 10 months old, but all of a sudden, at 18-months, she began to stumble and walk unsteadily bumping into things. One morning Nevaeh couldn’t walk.
“On her second birthday, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t feed herself, she couldn’t stack blocks She couldn’t play. She could not sit on our sofa without tumbling over,” said Angie.
Angie said she was wracking her brain trying to figure out what happened when she turned to the internet.
“I found on a forum a boy who was a little older than Nevaeh had the Varicella vaccine and he had almost the exact symptoms that she was exhibiting,” said Angie.
Angie said she took this information to her daughter’s pediatrician and found Nevaeh had a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine.
“Her immune system attacked her nervous system, so it completely depleted the myelin sheath,” said Angie.
Angie said Nevaeh is now 12 years old and has a spunky personality.
“She did make a full recovery. She does sports, she does cheering. She’s a typical preteen,” said Angie.
Now, Nevaih is medically exempted from getting vaccines.
In Maine, parents can choose not to vaccinate their children for medical reasons or based on their religious and philosophical beliefs, but that may change.
Representative Ryan tipping of Orono is backing a bill that will eliminate the religious and philosophical exemptions.
“My husband and I making the decision that we want to decide which vaccines that our children may get if we chose that,” said Sarah Kenney, Angie’s sister-in-law.
“We’re not saying to anyone, don’t vaccinate your kids, these could hurt your children. We’re not that way necessarily. We’re just saying be informed, and if you choose to that’s great but we reserve the right to choose for our kids,” said Angie Kenney.