SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – There are now 97 cases of whooping cough reported in Lane County, affecting up to 27 different schools. Even though the numbers keep on rising, one mother is speaking out about why she won’t let her daughter get vaccinated.
KEZI spoke to Kimby Maxson whose daughter Jade Fraley was sent home from school because she has not been vaccinated for whooping cough.
Oregon state law requires children not vaccinated or those under-immunized for whooping cough to stay at home for 21 days after the last potential exposure of reported cases.
Maxson believes this law doesn't allow parents to fully have the right to decide what's best for their children without consequences.
"My main concern is that this exclusion policy needs some work. It needs to be approached from a more case-by-case based approach,” said Maxson. “We need to take a look at a situation like this where a perfectly healthy kid can't attend her own award ceremony, but members of the community can attend the award ceremony whether they're vaccinated or not."
Maxson said she’s not comfortable getting Jade vaccinated because she doesn't believe the benefits outweigh the potential negatives. Jade said she has been out of school since May 14 and will not be allowed back until the last day of school on June 5. She is frustrated she can’t take part in any school activities and has not been able to do any homework. But she said she agrees with her mother’s decision of not getting vaccinated.
"I am completely on board with the decisions my parents have made for me, and at this point, I can make my own decisions about those things and I am sticking on board with I don't want to get vaccinated,” Jade said.
Jade said she also suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which comes with multiple health ailments. She said if she were to get vaccinated, it could potentially create more health issues.
“I don't want to go through more health complications that I can potentially avoid by not being vaccinated," Jade said.
KEZI also spoke with Dr. Pilar Bradshaw with Eugene Pediatric Associates. She acknowledges that the whooping cough vaccine is not perfect and will protect 70 to 80 percent of people who get it.
Although the vaccine is not perfect, she still thinks it’s the best line of defense against the disease and is the most effective way to prevent it from spreading.
"Not only will it protect your child potentially from a deadly illness, but it may protect your neighbor or your loved one,” said Bradshaw.
Both Maxson and Jade said they have worked with other families going through a similar situation and have reached out to lawmakers pleading with them to make revisions.