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Sen. Murray: ‘Vaccines are safe, effective, lifesaving’

Health

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — As several states continue to deal with a measles outbreak, Washington state Sen. Patty Murray spoke out on Tuesday morning on vaccines and preventable diseases.

During the Senate committee hearing, Sen. Murray said Congress has to do more to address vaccine hesitancy to make sure parents have the facts they need to understand science.

“Vaccines are safe, effective and lifesaving,” she said. “Parents want to do what’s best for their kids, which is why they need to be armed with knowledge about the importance of vaccination.”

Tuesday, the Clark County Public Health Department said the confirmed cases of measles remains at 70 with 2 suspected cases. Additionally, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Emergency Department, 400 NE Mother Joseph Place in Vancouver, is a new exposure site. The exposure happened from 8:45 pm Sunday, March 3 to 1:45 am Monday, March 4.

During the hearing, elite pediatricians and experts in the field debunked the misinformation spreading on the internet, like the misnomer that vaccines cause autism.

“I can understand the fear new parents have given the misinformation on social media, but that fear cannot override the facts,” Dr. Boyle said.

Doctors said vaccine refusal is high — and getting worse because of lax state policies.

Dr. McCullers said, “Vaccine refusal is the growing public health threat of our time if we continue to allow non-medical exemptions to vaccination. Vaccination will fall and more outbreaks will undoubtedly follow.”

For parents who still resist immunizations, doctors suggest stronger policy or broader educational efforts.

As the hearing ended on Tuesday, doctors left lawmakers with pointed suggestions to prevent more outbreaks:

1. Make it harder to get exemptions
2. More funding for vaccine education and reimbursements for pediatricians
3. Invest and prioritize vaccine safety research
4. Follow known interventions
5. Support the role CDC plays to fight diseases

“I want to thank you for bipartisan and consistent support for vaccine research because that matters,” Dr. Omer said. “It shows there’s broad societal support for vaccines.”

Doctors urged the committee to find solutions that will harmonize public health policy in America — and most importantly, help protect children from preventable diseases.

Watch Sen. Patty Murray’s full address below

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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