Parents worry about their children as once-eradicated measles make a comeback
The re-emergence of measles years after it was officially eradicated in North America is a cause of real concern and frustration among the parents of young children -- and adults who are young enough to be at risk.
After a confirmed case in New Brunswick, pharmacists say vaccinations are a must, but one mother says the so-called anti-vaccination movement makes some mothers uneasy and concerned for their children.
Kisha Holsgrove says it was a no-brainer to get her 10-month-old daughter Willow vaccinated.
When she heard about a confirmed case of the measles in New Brunswick, she immediately contacted her doctor.
“I asked about concerns and things we'd have to do to prevent in our household,” Holsgrove said. “It’s deathly for her.”
The highly contagious respiratory disease was confirmed in Saint John last Friday.
A warning also went out about possible measles exposure in Nova Scotia.
Pharmacist John Staples says people have raised many questions about whether they should get vaccinated.
“It's been proven in research and laboratory work that the risk is outweighed by the benefit, no question,” said pharmacist John Staples
For young children not vaccinated, the exposure can heighten.
“They get into daycare, for example, the risk goes up of course,” Staples said.
It can also be more worrisome for parents with children who have pre-existing conditions.
Darlene Tozer’s daughter lives with Crohns disease and her medication suppresses her immune system.
“For those that are immuno-compromised, they don’t have the option,” Tozer said. “They can’t fight it, because they don’t have the immune system to fight it.”
Mother of five Jennifer Kelly says there is no room for risk.
“If it’s something that we can prevent and were choosing not to, I really think we should be preventing it,” Kelly said.
Said Tozer: “If you don’t vaccinate your kids you’re not only exposing them, you’re exposing other people.”
Staples says the moral of the story is to be safe, rather than sorry, and that everyone should get vaccinated to decrease those chances of putting yourself and others at risk.
Holsgrove said it’s all about herd immunity.
“The more that are vaccinated, the less likely for it to become an issue,” she said. “It's strength in numbers.”
The numbers these moms worry about right now are the increasing numbers of measles sufferers worldwide.
The New Brunswick Department of Health reminds people born in 1970 or later who have not received two doses of the measles vaccine that they can receive two doses one month apart.
Most people fully recover from measles within a few weeks, but it can have serious complications for infants or those with compromised immune systems.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.