As the Measles virus spreads, there are some reports out of Marin County showing that parents opting out of getting their children vaccinated are starting “Measles Parties.”
These parties have the same idea of “Chicken Pox Parties” from the 1980’s, where parents of uninfected children set playdates with infected children to purposely infect their own children, and build immunity to the disease.
We spoke to many parents at Arden Fair Mall to their take on these “Measles Parties.”
“You can't protect them. You can't put them in a bubble,” new mother of two, Katey Keller said.
She believes in vaccinating her children. Her 3 year-old son is up to date on all of his shots, and plans to do the same for her 2 week-old daughter.
On the other hand, 74-year-old Frank Allen said he avoids vaccinations of all kinds.
“I got a flu shot one time, and I caught the flu. I haven’t got the flu shot since, and I haven’t got the flu,” he said. “I’d rather do it the natural way, because the kid gets it and is immune to it for the rest of his life.”
Lorene Cook was at the mall, spending time with her grandchildren. She remembers participating in a chicken pox party for her now adult daughter, because she said she did not know any better.
“My daughter who is now 21, when she was younger, I found out someone had the chicken pox, and I was like, ‘Great! Let’s get them, and get them over with!’ Not realizing that you can get the shingles now. I would have vaccinated her knowing that," she said.
The California Department of Public Health Released this statement:
“The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) does not have any information to share about the background or frequency of pox parties. But CDPH strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles, as it unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread of the outbreak. Measles is a serious illness that can have significant consequences. Thirty percent of people with measles in the current California outbreak have been hospitalized.” - Dr. Gil Chavez, Deputy Director, State Epidemiologist, California Department of Public Health
Most parents agreed.
“I mean, how do you tell a kid, ‘Don't scratch yourself!’ I'd rather them have a vaccination,” mother of two, Eliana Mendoza said.
Katey Keller agreed.
“I don't think there is a point to put them in danger to get the sickness,” she said. “If they happened to be at a party and they get it, that is different. Or go school and get it, that's different. But I wouldn't be like, ‘Come on over! Let's all have the disease and get it over with!’ Not worth it.”