Lawmakers, TN Health Dept. working to boost vaccination rates

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Mar. 7, 2019 at 5:12 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The CDC confirmed there have been 200 cases in 11 states so far this year.

The state of Tennessee is now spending $400,000 to educate parents about vaccines.

In May, The Tennessee Department of Health will start the campaign in part promoting vaccination, hoping to raise the states rates. The ad campaign will run through October 2020.

Misinformation from social media is said to be at the root of an anti-vaccine movement.

On Thursday, Facebook pledged to attempt to combat vaccine misinformation and hoaxes on its platforms.

It comes two days after passionate testimony at a Senate committee hearing on boosting the country’s vaccine rates. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Pediatrician-in-Chief Dr. Jon McCullers was among those who testified.

“Unfortunately the issues of vaccine opposition and vaccine hesitancy are imparting our ability to ensure vaccine coverage aided by state laws that make it easier to avoid vaccination,” Dr. McCullers said on Tuesday in the hearing.

The children’s hospital primarily serves patients from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, each state with different vaccination polices.

“And that’s what we are trying to eliminate if we can. Because if it is so easy to opt out more people are going to opt out,” said Dr. McCullers.

Dr. McCullers says educating families to weed through misinformation is the most effective way to fight the growing anti-vaccination trend.

Dr. McCullers called vaccine refusal is one of the growing public health threats of our time

Tennessee Department of Health reports Shelby County has at least a 90 percent immunization rate among all the schools in the district.

Click here to see a break down of immunization rate by Tennessee Counties.

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