To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: Valley doctors debate the heated issue

PHOENIX - Proponents and those in opposition are sounding off about vaccinations after health officials confirmed that someone traveling from Europe made a stop in Phoenix last month and was confirmed to have the Measles virus.

Health officials said the traveler was unvaccinated and over three-days visited a terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor, a local eatery and a church potentially exposing several people to the virus.

We posted the story to our ABC15 Facebook page Wednesday evening and several viewers voiced their opinions about whether or not to get immunized, specifically children.

ABC15's MaryEllen Resendez spoke with a pair of doctors who stand on opposite sides of the debate.

All states allow some sort of an exemption from a vaccination. Some states have medical exemptions and most states have religious exemptions, but Arizona has a "personal belief" exemption.

Dr. Bob England, Maricopa County's top doctor, has been practicing medicine since 1989 and believes parents have a social obligation to immunize their children.

"The decision to not vaccinate just for you or your kid, it puts a lot of people potentially at risk," he says.

Dr. Martha Grout has been practicing medicine since 1971 and she disagrees. She tells ABC15 that she has seen the dangerous effects of vaccinations first hand.

"I've seen a connection. I've seen multiple children who had had their 12 or 15-month vaccinations and I've seen they have deteriorated physically. They've lost their ability to speak. They've lost their ability with the world," she said.

Grout also admits that there is no hard proof that there is a connection between immunizations and medical consequences, such as developing Autism.

Dr. England says studies have shown that there is no link between vaccinations and Autism.

Anyone who may have been in the same locations during the times that this individual was there may have been exposed to the virus, health officials said.

List of times and locations that the infected individual was at:

- March 29: Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport between hours of 6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

- March 30: Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-Day Saints in Cave Creek between hours of 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

- March 31: Wildflower Bread Company near Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd in Scottsdale between the hours of 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

- March 31: Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport between hours of 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

The Measles virus can survive in the air for hours and may be transmitted to another individual hours after the infected individual has left the area, according to health officials.

Officials did say that there is no concern for residents who may have visited these areas after the listed dates above.

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