Poll finds Oklahomans are pro-vaccination

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - It's a debate that has been reignited thanks to recent measles outbreaks nationwide. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? On Tuesday, results of a new poll on Oklahomans were released.

Medical professionals say diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough are on the rise nationwide. They say it's because of falling vaccination rates across the U.S.

Officials say Oklahoma has one of the lowest rates in the county, but a doctor-backed poll shows Oklahomans are in favor of getting their shots

"We wanted to know what the people of Oklahoma really think," said Dr. Larry Bookman of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

A telephone poll was conducted in October by WPA Intelligence with more than 1,000 Oklahomans weighing in.

"Residents across the state, regardless of political views, support strong immunization requirements," said Jacqueline McDaniel of the Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families.

They say their polling shows nine in 10 Oklahomans support immunizing kids on time, and that 84 percent support requiring schools to collect and maintain information about their students vaccination status. Doctors say its important to make sure 92-93 percent of the student body is up to date with shots to guard against large breakouts of infectious disease.

"It's not just the individual, it's their ability to spread the disease to a large number of the population who may be at risk either because they were too young to receive vaccination or they have some underlying problem that prevents them from receiving vaccinations," said Dr. Bookman

"Just because they have not been vaccinated for something doesn’t mean they are walking around carrying that pathogen in them," said Liza Greve of Oklahoman for Health and Parental Rights.

Some on the other side of this issue say they are not anti-vaccine, but it should be up to the parents whether or not to immunize. They say there are three times more vaccinations required now than there were just a generation ago. They say that means kids have more shots that could cause what they say are reactions like brain inflammation, seizures and even death.

"We are not looking at the same vaccines that our parents got, and even our grandparents," Greve said.

Medical professionals say the science proves immunizations are the way to go.

"Studies have been done, large studies, that show there is no correlation between autism and vaccination," said Dr. Bookman.

"Show us the studies, show us the double-blind placebo studies with inert saline injections that have been done on every single vaccine. Show us the studies of tracking children over a long term period, show us those studies," Greve said.

The Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families said their polls shows that more than half of Oklahomans oppose the personal exemption currently on the Oklahoma law books.

"I think it's important that our legislators know that our people do support vaccinations." said Dr. Bookman.

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