Measles outbreak continues to rage, and pediatrician Jay Gordon adds fuel to the fire

148559465The measles outbreak, which began in Disneyland but is now spreading, continues to be a hot topic. And of course, concerns about vaccinations are right at the center of this debate, with the anti-vaxxers clinging strongly to their beliefs that children should not receive the life-saving vaccine. However, for those of us who are strongly - and rightly - in favor of vaccinations, a segment airing on CBS News featuring Doctor Jay Gordon, a pediatrician in Santa Monica, California, will make your blood boil.

Dr. Gordon says that more than half his patients choose to delay vaccinating their children for measles or flat out decide not to, and he has signed hundreds of personal belief exemptions, giving parents the chance to leave their children unvaccinated. He is unconcerned about this measles outbreak, saying that the worst that can happen is a child will get measles, not meningitis, not the plague, not Ebola, they d get measles. Measles is almost always a benign childhood illness. And he goes on to say that those parents who choose to leave their children unvaccinated are not the ones responsible for this outbreak.

What Dr. Gordon is forgetting is what it was like before the measles vaccine existed. Dr. Deborah Lehman at Cedars Sinai Medical Center says, "People don't remember children staying in dark rooms because they have measles and the light hurts their eyes and developing brain swelling and serious developmental problems. We've given people a false sense of security and it's situations like this, outbreaks like this that really remind us of the importance of these diseases and really the benefit of vaccine."

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say: Dr. Gordon is overlooking those children who are most vulnerable to this disease, infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated and those whose immune systems may be compromised. By choosing not to vaccinate your child, you are putting others in danger and contributing to the spread of this vaccine-preventable disease. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are absolutely the reason why these outbreaks are occurring. And this charlatan Gordon is enabling and fomenting the anti-vaccine superstition while peddling his destructive nonsense. I wonder how much he charges vulnerable parents to sign their exemption forms? He should be drummed out of the ranks of medical professionals: remember primum non nocere, doc? First, do no harm!

Despite the increase in cases of measles over the past few years, and the overwhelming science which points to the benefits and safety of vaccines, anti-vaccine parents continue to hold strongly to their beliefs. They continue to try to justify their decisions to leave their children unvaccinated and especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable illnesses.

One pro-vaccine parent sums it up pretty well though, At the end of the day, would you really want to look at yourself in the mirror because you caused your child to have a life-threatening illness? Because you were too hardheaded?"