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On heels of measles outbreak, doctor says vaccines are 'safer than vitamins'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials in Utah say no new measles cases have been reported. But in the ongoing backlash against the anti-vaccine movement, there are reports that some Utah doctors won't see patients who refuse to immunize.

Dr. Bill Cosgrove, the president of the Utah chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician in Murray, says it isn't measurable, but he has heard of doctors refusing to see non-immunized patients.

Doctors want to keep their other patients safe, he said, and they feel if a parent won't listen to their advice on vaccines, they won't listen to their advice on other critical things.

"Mostly, it's families who get caught up in the fear,” Cosgrove said.

The world is scary when you have a child, he added — you have to put them in a car seat, lock away dangerous stuff at home, be wary of strangers. But this is something that is safe.

"Once you've chosen to vaccinate your child, your life is less scary,” he said.

Cosgrove has not turned away patients who are not immunized. He says he would rather see all his patients regularly because then he can keep talking to the parents about the right science.


Vaccines are safer than vitamins, and they will protect your child from some of the scarier episodes in life. If you could quell the fear, I think families would take the path of less risk for their child. Vaccines are clearly the path of less risk.

–Dr. Bill Cosgrove


"Vaccines are safer than vitamins, and they will protect your child from some of the scarier episodes in life,” Cosgrove said. "If you could quell the fear, I think families would take the path of less risk for their child. Vaccines are clearly the path of less risk."

Two Utah County residents were exposed to measles at Disneyland in mid-December. A third person in Utah County contracted the virus after coming in contact with the two other teens.

The measles outbreak has now grown to 87 cases — 73 are in California. Fifty of those cases have been linked to Disneyland.

Other states included in the outbreak are Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska and New Mexico.

Health officials say another 21-day waiting period is now in effect before they officially claim Utah is free of measles.

Contributing: Tracie Snowder

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