Vaccination debate rages on nationwide, locally

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The debate over whether parents should be required to have their children immunized is raging across the country as a measles outbreak spreads to more than a dozen states. (WTVD)

The debate over whether parents should be required to have their children immunized is raging across the country as a measles outbreak spreads to more than a dozen states.

In Raleigh, Dr. Melanie Walker told ABC11 that the debate is nothing new.

"I always tell parents if you can live with your child dying of a vaccine-preventable illness, then you are a different parent than I am," she said.

At her practice, Pediatric Partners, it's standard procedure to turn away patients who have not been fully vaccinated.

"We don't think it's fair for children who are unvaccinated to be in our waiting rooms potentially exposing other kids to those diseases," said Walker.

Political figures on both sides of the aisle are weighing in this week. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said parents should have a measure of choice when it comes to vaccinating their children. Hillary Clinton tweeted her support of vaccines and the science behind them.

The CDC reported Monday there are now 102 cases of the measles in 14 states. The majority of people who got measles from the outbreak that originated at the Disneyland theme park in California were unvaccinated.

In North Carolina, all children are required to be vaccinated. Kindergarteners who are not in compliance at the beginning of the school year are given 30 days to do so. If they do not receive the mandated immunizations, they are suspended until the requirement is met. Parents can claim medical or religious exemptions to keep their children from getting vaccinated.

NC Department of Health and Human Services records show in the 2013-2014 school year nearly 96 percent of kindergarteners were fully vaccinated.

Raleigh mom Amanda Kanann brought her two-month-old to Pediatric Partners Tuesday for her vaccinations.

"To be honest, there's probably risk in everything these days," she said. "But at the end of the day, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. So I certainly don't judge other parents who decide that vaccines aren't for them."

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