Mississippi parents are fighting for legislation that will allow them to decide if they want their children vaccinated to attend school.
Mary Jo Perry says she doesn't object to vaccinations. She just wants to decide which ones her children have to take. Perry says her child took the Pertussis shot for kindergarten and experienced seizures. Now she co-directs Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights. At a news conference at the Capitol, Perry points to her banner, which she says lists more than 70 scheduled doses of vaccinations Mississippi children must have from birth through high school.
"The fact is we can look at 47 other healthier states that allow parents, like Louisiana for instance, any parent can just turnover a piece of paper and sign on the back that they're altering the schedule, that they're not following what's the mandated schedule and their child can go to school," said Perry.
Perry says Mississippi law requires babies at birth receive a Hepatits B shot, a vaccine for sexually transmitted diseases. She thinks babies shouldn't be given the shot, if the mother tests negative for the virus. Dr. Sandy Feldman is a retired Chief of Pediatric Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says vaccines are given to protect public health and save lives.
"Parents don't have the education. They don't really know about vaccine preventable diseases and what they read off the internet, of course, isn't necessarily what's really correct," said Feldman.
A bill is expected to be introduced in the state house this week, that would allow parents to make their own decisions about vaccinating children.