• Debate over vaccinations continues

    By: Michelle Linn


    Quick Facts:

    • Back to school can lead to a debate about vaccinations
    • Vaccinations are required in Oklahoma schools
    • You can refuse vaccinations for personal or religious reasons 

    Vaccinations are required before your child can go to school in Oklahoma, but earlier this year, dozens of people wound up infected with measles nationwide and health officials blamed parents who opt out of vaccines. 

    FOX23’s Michelle Linn took a closer look what Green Country schools do to protect children as they head back to school. 

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     In Oklahoma vaccinations are required, but parents can get a medical exemption if your child has severe allergies ore a weakened immune system, or they can refuse for personal or religious reasons.

    State health officials told FOX23 fewer than two percent statewide opted out, but in Jenks we learned a little more than four percent of kindergarteners opted out and another four percent weren't in compliance.

    The group Oklahomans for Vaccine Choice is circulating a petition opposing Senate Bill 380 which would stop parents from opting out.

    Dr. Andrew Revelis is a physician and he's also the father of a son with autism.

    Follow FOX23 Michelle Linn on Facebook.

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    He and others argue requiring vaccines denies children their constitutional right to a free public education.

    He also says there's a lot of money to be made on mandatory vaccines.

    “They have a captive audience, your kid is born and they pop them full of vaccines,” he said.

    The Tulsa County Health Department watched this year's measles outbreak very closely and prepared to handle any cases here.

    Ellen Niemitalo manages vaccines in Tulsa and argues they are safe, and necessary and that's why they are required.

    “The Centers for Disease Control does very extensive studies before they recommend a vaccine,” she said.

    Oklahoma has not had a confirmed case of measles since 1997. 

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