Should Indiana state vaccination laws be stronger? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Should Indiana state vaccination laws be stronger?

California has been struggling with a whooping cough epidemic-there have been 800 cases reported in the last two weeks. St. Joseph County Health Officer, Doctor Thomas Felger, says it's likely to blame on the popular anti-vaccination movement.

"We have a lot of completely preventable diseases that we can immunize against," Dr.Felger said.

South Bend Community Schools Nurse Manager Sue Cullen, RN, BSN, says the trend can be dangerous. Her office has a plan in place to address any outbreaks; they'll send a letter home to parents,

"...letting them know there's been a diagnosed case and contact specifically the parents of those children who haven't been immunized and they can choose at that time to have their children immunized or if not they may be excluded from school until the outbreak is clear," Nurse Cullen said.

Indiana state law requires all school children receive vaccinations, but there are exemptions for religious or health reasons. You can see the full law here.

"I think it needs to be tougher," Dr. Felger said.

Shree Gary, a mother of five, says the decision to vaccinate is clear to her.

"I wouldn't consider not having my children done because there are so much things out here," Gary said.

Jennifer Marascal also vaccinates her children, but she says she understands why some of her friends choose not to.

"I do have a lot of friends who don't vaccinate or if they do, they do one at a time because they just feel there's different alternatives to other treatments," Marascal said.

It's rare that California's epidemic would spread to Michiana, but Nurse Sue Cullen and Dr. Thomas Felger both say there have been smaller outbreaks in the area before... and they wouldn't be surprised to see it again.
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