Two Sides of the Argument: Cenla residents share stories about vaccinations

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Earlier this month people across the nation recognized Infant Immunization Awareness Week, many advocating for families to vaccinate their children.

Photo Source: CDC / MGN

But there's also those who oppose the idea.

"He stopped breathing in his sleep,” remembered Ashley Hale, Marksville mother. “And his oxygen dropped and his heart rate dropped."

Hale said her son, Coltston, was just two months old when one night the incident happened.

"When we took him in we had to go to the ER and spend the night, it was just overwhelming," said Hale.

She said it was shortly after his first dose of vaccines.

"But even if it wasn't the vaccines, he was perfectly healthy and it happened after that," explained Hale.

Dr. LJ Mayeux's story starts when he was just a year old.

"I woke with a 106 temperature and had paralysis of the left leg, and diaphragm and neck," explained Dr. Mayeux.

It was polio. And what followed was a long process.

"I lost about 70 percent of the neurons in my leg,” said Dr. Mayeux. “So it's like taking 70 percent of your bank account away, and you can't replace it. All you can do is use and not replace."

It’s something he believes he never would have had to go through, if he would've just been born after the vaccination was invented. He missed it by roughly 14 months.

"The importance is that it eradicates measles, mumps, rubella, and polio," explained Dr. Mayeux.

As you can probably tell, both of these scenarios led these two to look at vaccines differently. Hale is very vocal against them, saying Coltston and her next child won't be getting any.

"No vaccines, nothing,” said Hale. “Completely all natural."

While Dr. Mayeux, who delivered many babies during his career, encourages parents to immunize their kids.

"People think because they don't see polio, they don't see measles, they don't see rubella, that it's a done thing," expressed Dr. Mayeux.

It's an argument you've most likely seen recently.

Dr. Mayeux points out an increase in disease breakouts. According to the CDC, just the measles is at the highest amount since 1994 when in 2000 it was declared eliminated.

He blames it on the movement against vaccines.

"Clark County, Washington, of all places,” listed Dr. Mayeux. “New York State just developed another pocket. Measles is making a comeback because of the lack of immunizations."

On the other hand, Hale speaks about the cases where vaccines cause adverse effects. According to a study by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, there is a list of minor effects, as well as a couple of rare life-threatening effects.

She said incidents similar to her son's seems too frequent to be coincidences.

"There actually is so much evidence that these injuries and deaths are happening all the time," said Hale.

On the other hand, Dr. Mayeux said many of the serious effects believed to follow vaccines just aren't true.

"There has been absolutely zero, not zero point one, zero point zero incidents of side effects to vaccinations."

But, Hale said accountability is an issue when it comes to those who distribute vaccines. She points out the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which protects pharmaceutical companies that provide vaccinations from lawsuits.

"So if you go in there and you get their vaccines, and your kid is hurt or harmed or passes away from these, you have no way to fight that," explained Hale.

However, the Health Resources and Service Administration points out that the act was put in place because pharmaceutical companies were being sued frequently during the 1980s, and there was a vaccine shortage.

This led to another avenue for families who experienced vaccine-related side effects to file for compensation called Vaccine Adverse Event Report System, or VAERS. It’s something Hale also expressed concerns about.

"They make it so difficult to report on there, that only one percent is even reported of all the vaccine injuries," said Hale.

Despite obvious differences in these views, the two have something in common. They both said they'll continue to use their personal experiences to advocate for their side of the discussion.

"It's sad enough when we have pancreatic cancer or a brain tumor in a young person,” expressed Dr. Mayeux. “Those things we can't do anything about. How about we do something for the diseases we can actually prevent."

"You spend all this time to get the product for your child," expressed Hale. "But you never actually research what's being injected into their body."

For a look at all the studies we referred to, check out the attached links.

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