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Some parents re-thinking their resistance to getting kids immunized

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- The Kansas City Health Department says the metro has had no new measles cases since late June although Wichita has had new cases since then.  Altogether, 29 measles cases have been confirmed in the metro this summer.  It's one reason why doctors say some parents are re-thinking their resistance to immunizations.

There have been 580 cases of measles in the U.S. this year, and nearly 10,000 cases of whooping cough.

"It's concerning.  You want to do everything you can to protect your child," said Justin Slaughter, the father of Emma, a four-month-old.

It's why Slaughter is making sure Emma gets all the recommended vaccinations on schedule.  But her Lee's Summit pediatrician, Dr. James McEntire, sees some other parents who resist immunization.  He says there have been enough of them nationwide that the herd immunity needed to keep illness away no longer exists with some diseases.

"And that's why the rates of these vaccine-preventable diseases in 2014 are ridiculously high," said Dr. McEntire.

He says some parents are still holding on to outdated, refuted and discredited information linking vaccination to autism.  But the doctor adds that the resistance going back more than a decade may be waning.  Just this week, one parent of an eight-year-old started getting her child vaccinated.  The mother, who didn't want to be identified, told us that the influx of immigrant children into the U.S. changed her mind.  The measles outbreak was another factor.

"I've been pleased to see some of those families reconsider their line of thought and come in and say hey, we need to get our child caught up," said Dr. McEntire.

The pediatrician says he's excited to develop a vaccination plan with those parents.  He adds that by talking directly to parents and posting messages about outbreaks in his office, he hopes that more parents will be convinced that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

Babies can't be vaccinated against measles until they are a year old, so they rely on others being vaccinated to keep the disease away from them.

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