SEATTLE - As the state continues to battle a whooping cough epidemic, there's been a lot of talk about vaccinations. New numbers reveal how many families are opting out of getting the pertussis vaccine, along with other shots.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson points to new numbers released by the state. In the 2009-to-2010 school year, more than 6 percent of families said no to vaccines for their child before they entered kindergarten
The following year, numbers didn't change much. But the latest numbers show fewer families - just 4.5-percent - are opting out
Dr. Swanson credits a law that went into effect last year - requiring parents seeking an exemption from vaccines to get information from a health care provider first.
“To have a conversation about the risk your family incurs and your child incurs by not getting immunizations that we recommend,” she said.
She says the law is leading to more kids vaccinated, but Michael Belkin is using his voice to express a different point of view. Last month he posted a music video. It’s been viewed more than 280,000 times.
“It’s making people think, and the comments have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Belkin.
“It’s our contention is that vaccines are doing harm,” he said.
Belkin says he formed that opinion after he lost his daughter, Lyla, in 1998.
“My daughter died within hours of getting a vaccine when she was 5 weeks old in New York City,” he said.
He said today his children are unvaccinated.
“And I am proud to say they are doing fine,” he said.
There are counties in Washington where kids are under-vaccinated, and the Health Department says those communities are at a greater risk for outbreaks. According to Dr. Swanson, less than one percent of families nationwide refuse vaccinations.