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Measles Outbreak Rekindles Vaccination Debate

By Heather Mathis
By hmathis@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. -- As state health officials confirm they are investigating five possible measles cases, the debate on whether to vaccinate children has rekindled.

Angela Hazelhurst told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News her son, Yates, is autistic, and signs of the neurological disorder showed up just days after he received his first childhood vaccinations.

"Even on video his eye contact was gone, his immune system almost began failing," Hazelhurst recalls.

While Yates' mom believes vaccines save millions of lives, she questions now how they are used.

"What I don't like is the current schedule treatment of vaccines that is given to our children at this time," Hazelhurst said.

On the other side of the debate, doctors like Bruce Maley in Jackson claim because more parents are questioning vaccines, more diseases like measles are showing up at an all time high.

"There are families that want to spread out the vaccines and that has been disproved medically," Maley said. "It does not decrease the incidents of autism or illness or overload the immune system."

Hazelhurst argues parents need to do their own research about vaccines.

"It's been so painful that yes, I'd rather be treating whooping cough; I'd rather be treating measles right now than dealing with what I see my child suffering from daily," Hazelhurst said.

Dr. Maley said it is important for any parent questioning vaccinations to discuss their fears with their doctor.
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