SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) –Utah ranks 35th in the nation for childhood immunization. 66.7 percent of children, who should be fully immunized by age two, actually are. Health officials say that is leaving Utah kids open to disease.
Dr. Kathryn Gibson, a University of Utah family physician says she is shocked by how many Utah children are not being immunized. "There are so many complications that are real, and documented, from not getting vaccines."
Rich Lake, from the Utah Department of Health says Utah’s low numbers it's partly due to the World Wide Web. "Parents may get on there, and they may not get shots based on information that immunizations could cause autism or diabetes which it does not."
Dr. Gibson says there was only one study that ever linked vaccines to autism and it was not only revoked, but has also been repeatedly disproven. "There’s no link in the scientific literature between autism and MMR or autism and any other vaccines."
Nina Lefau, a Utah mother of four, says she thinks other moms wait because of a false sense of security. "It’s kind of one of those things where people never think anything is going to happen to them, and when you least expect it, something bad happens and then your whole life is upside down."
Her daughter 18-month-old daughter Sialei is up to date on her immunizations. "More and more disease are happening and not just in other countries they are happening here."
Dr. Gibson and Lake agree not immunizing Utah children sets up the community for possible outbreaks. "Immunization our kids is really beneficial for the entire community."
For maximum effectiveness, experts say kids should be immunized by two. Statistics show parents wait until kindergarten when it becomes a school requirement. Three percent opt-out altogether for religious, personal, or health reasons.
Heath officials also believe the economy could be a factor; the State offers has a program to immunize all children at no or low cost if money is an issue. To find out more about that you can visit http://www.immunize-utah.org