High health risks without measles vaccine

Feb 8, 2019

The Center for Disease Control reports individual cases of measles have been confirmed in ten states and that includes New York. Four cases were confirmed earlier this week in the Rochester area. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley spoke with the Erie County Health Commissioner about the importance of getting children vaccinated.  

"The risk of not getting the measles vaccine are so much greater than the risk of getting the measles vaccine,” Dr. Gale Burstein, County Health Commissioner.

Burstein tells WBFO News it is very "frustrating" when she learns people are turning away from the vaccine. In Washington State, where's there's a measles outbreak, there is a high rate of children that have never received the shot. Burstein said children should be protected because in some cases the measles could potentially cause deadly complications.

Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Health Commissioner, displayed a photo of measles in December when a case was reported.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Mike Desmond

"The measles vaccine is recommended for young children. The first dose between 12 and 15 months of age and then the second dose between four to six years of age and so if parents refuse for their children to get immunized – they’re putting their children at great risk and their children don’t have a choice – they don’t have right to consent for their own vaccine,” Burstein declared.

You may recall there was a measles case in Erie County back in December, but fortunately Dr. Burstein tells us the incubation time has passed and there were no secondary cases in the area.

Burstein said Erie County has a successful vaccination program. She also notes in New York State the laws are tough requiring public school children to receive vaccinations before entering school. 

“We also hope the superintendents do not cave into parents requests and really try to protect not only that individual student, but the rest of the school,” Burstein explained.  

The health commissioner said getting the vaccine is not only responsible in protecting your child's health, but it is also a responsibility as a citizen to protect others from getting the measles.