Vaccine trends show fewer kids getting shots

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- A study out this week puts the controversy over vaccine safety back in the spotlight. It's not a medical study, but an analysis by the Associated Press that finds more parents are opting out of school shots for their children. In some states more than 1 in 20 kindergartners aren't fully protected.

UofL's Chief of Infectious Disease, Dr. Gary Marshall says it's a trend fueled by misinformation. "A lot of them are finding information on the internet or elsewhere. A very vocal minority, people who believe that it's too much too soon, too many vaccines, too many shots" Dr. Marshall said.

The UofL Pediatrics professor travels the country educating about the consequences of vaccine refusal and the even more popular trend of spacing out vaccines.

"We did a study here that shows that children who got their shots on time, had exactly the same neuro-developmental outcomes as children who had the shots spaced out. So there's no advantage. All there is risk" he added.

Tasha Linder is a parent who enrolled her newborn baby into one of UofL's latest vaccine studies on a combination vaccine and she did so without any fear of potential side-effects. "My oldest son, he's perfectly healthy and he's received all of his vaccines. My daughter's 3, she's received all hers. I've never had any problems out of them. If anything they've kept my kids healthy" Linder said.

Time and again, Dr. Marshall says research studies prove that the current vaccine schedule is not only safe, but the most effective in preventing disease.

"And we know those doses have to be spaced at a very critical period of time and so the routine schedule is based on a lot of science" said Marshall.

In California last year, ten infants died in whooping cough outbreak, and in Minnesota a cluster of measles infections last March. Dr. Marshall says what parents should also know, "the vast majority of parents listen to their doctors and get their kids immunized on time and we all benefit from that."

The AP analysis also finds that more than half of the states in this country are seeing a slight increase in parents opting out of shots over the past five years.