Are immunizations necessary? Local doctor weighs in

The vaccine debate reached its boiling point in the 90's and early 2000's when the MMR vaccine was believed to cause autism. (MGN Online)

Parents across the country have been keeping their kids out of doctor's offices.

Is their reasoning behind that decision doing more harm than good?

Globally, two to three million preventable deaths don't occur because of vaccines every year, that's according to the World Health Organization.

However, 1.5 million deaths do occur because children don't receive the proper vaccinations.

Vaccinating children has been a heavily debated topic over the years.

But the question is, are there any truths to those myths and misconceptions?

In Missouri, 7 different immunizations are required for public school students.

One, is the MMR or measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

The vaccine debate reached its boiling point in the 90's and early 2000's when the MMR vaccine was believed to cause autism.

Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO of Scotland County Hospital says there's no compelling evidence that vaccines have resulted in autism or other diagnoses.

That theory has been debunked.

"The Institute of Medicine has studied that, and it's clear there is no connection. In fact, the doctor who did fraudulent research in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, a very esteemed journal, was actually thrown off the Medical Registry because of the fraudulent research that he reported."

The link between autism and the MMR vaccine has also been described as one of the most damaging medical hoaxes of the last 100 years.

Tobler says that in the Heartland, vaccine use is critical.

One of the main reasons is because of the overwhelming number of people who home school their children, where vaccinations aren't required.

As a result, those children lose out on protection during some of the most vulnerable times for infections.

"By everyone taking an infinitesimally small risk, almost negligible risk, and often overblown and frankly over-hyped, people miss out on the opportunity to not only individually protect their child, but to also be a part of that herd immunity."

KTVO reached out to viewers via Facebook to see if they are for vaccines, or are part of the 'anti-vaxxer' movement.

Debbie Hagerla said "I witnessed my cousin with whooping cough when I was 6. I thought he was dying. Anyone that has went through any of the childhood diseases are so glad our children and grandchildren do not have to go through them."

David Fields on the other hand, says he is against vaccines and questioned if anyone has looked at the side effects.

Tobler says that while fevers are not uncommon, other side effects which include seizures and fatigue, are rare.

"The ones that we see most commonly are the local reactions. A skin reaction where it gets red and warm and swells up. Even those are very, very rare. The other ones, frankly, I have never ever seen one of the more serious adverse effects."

Tobler adds that while some may be wary of vaccines, they very well could be the only salvation for emerging diseases that travel from overseas.

He says that without support for immunization, the next plague could be disastrous.

Some in the medical field say that infectious diseases are potentially the most existential threat, more so, than terrorism.

"Despite all of the complaints and worries that patients have had throughout the years, I personally, have never ever seen the degree of problems that people really anticipate. Like many things and many treatments in medicine, the anxiety is worse that the reality."

To learn more about the vaccination requirements for public school students in the state of Missouri, click here.

To learn more about the immunization requirements for public school students in the state of Iowa, click here.

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