National Infant Immunization Week stirs debate


Photographer- Justin Jones
Reporter- Briana Conner

PADUCAH, Ky.— As we enter National Infant Immunization Week, the debate over how to best keep kids from contracting preventable diseases rages on. The anti-vaccination movement accuses the shots of causing diseases like autism, but those who believe in immunizations say the benefits outweigh the risks.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 people died from whooping cough in America last year. Most of them were children younger than one year old. In all, there were 41,000 cases. That's the highest number in any one year in the us since 1955.

The park can be the perfect place for kids to pick up viruses, but mother of three Rachel Hamrick said she's not worried. "You can't prevent everything from happening, but if you can, by all means, I think you should do it," said Hamrick.

All three of her kids, including her three month old, are up to date on their immunizations. It's a controversial practice her own mother didn't believe in. Hamrick's little brother came down with whooping cough when he was in first grade."He was in pain. We were all scared He was very sick," she said. That's why Hamrick made a different decision for her three kids. She said, "I jut thought, now that I have my own children, I never want to see that. If I can prevent them from hurting or being sick, I will."

While Hamrick said she understood the argument against immunizations, she stood by the choice she made for her children. According to The CDC, vaccines prevent close to 20 million cases of disease and 42,000 deaths. "I think the benefits of having the immunizations far outweigh any risks that there are," said Hamrick.