POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2011 - 11:42pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 6:51am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — An increasing number of parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated. Some are worried about unintended consequences of the vaccines. The problem is the alternative is often disease and in some cases epidemics.
Five-year-old Ella and her little brother Ethan are healthy, happy, and unvaccinated.
Their mother, Lisa Morris, a practicing chiropractor from Buffalo, decided against all immunizations, an about-face from the way she was raised by her mother, a practicing nurse.
"I just think kids today are different. They have healthier environments," said Morris, " Just don't think they're at risk."
Increasingly, thousands of parents are making the same decisions as Lisa, and veering away from recommended immunizations.
Now, eight states report that more than in twenty children has not been properly vaccinated. Just last year, California experienced an outbreak of whooping cough affecting 2100 children. Ten infants died. And Minnesota faced an cluster of measles infections last March. These outbreaks have health experts worried.
"There's still a lot of confusion because many young parents have no knowledge of the diseases that we're trying to prevent," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University.
Diseases like measles, mumps, polio, meningitis, chicken pox, and hepatitis.
Lisa Morris is among a growing number of parents who are educated, middle class, white and get much of their medical information from the internet. But many experts say, its misinformation.
Public officials counter that making a personal decision for your family may not necessarily be the best one for your community.