Seven percent of kids not vaccinated for measles in Virginia

Posted at 6:49 PM, Feb 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-12 20:32:58-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The number of measles cases across the country continues to rise, and now some schools and doctor’s offices are creating guidelines that they said will protect kids. Pediatric and Adolescent Health Partners, P.C. in Richmond will not treat children who are not vaccinated by the age of two.“We just do not think that's in the best interest of the child or society,” said Doctor Harry Gewanter, with the medical practice.

Jenny Schardt brings her daughter Lizzie, who has a fever disorder, to see Dr. Gewanter every six months.

“We aren't 100 percent certain what causes her periodic fevers,” Schardt said.

For that reason, Schardt said she made sure her daughter received a measles vaccine. But she's concerned by the idea of other parents not doing the same for their kids. She said that could potentially expose her child to the disease.

“It makes me very angry,” Schardt said.

measles cases

In fact, of the 13 measles cases in the state of Virginia between 2009 and 2014, two of the cases involved people who had been vaccinated. Schools in Virginia require students be vaccinated for measles unless a religious or medical exemption is cited. Seven percent of children in Virginia are not vaccinated for measles, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

“I've watched kids have severe disabilities and die and everything else from those conditions ,” Dr. Gewanter said.

Dr. Gewanter can understand why some parents opt against vaccination, but he believes it's the right thing to do.

“Anything we do to, or for our child and a bad result comes about, we are going to have a lot guilt,” Dr. Gewanter said.

Both the City of Petersburg and the City of Richmond told CBS 6 that fewer than one percent of their students were not vaccinated for measles.