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This Week In Conversation: The Vaccine Debate And How It Affects Kentucky

Mary Meehan

Listen to the episode:

Why does Louisville have so many fish fries?

Debate over vaccinations continues in Kentucky and elsewhere amid outbreaks of diseases like measles, mumps and chickenpox.

In an update two weeks ago, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the recent measles outbreak has led to the most cases of the disease since 2000. Before 1963, in the decade before the measles vaccination was created, an estimated three to four million people were infected, and about 400 to 500 people died of the disease each year.

Local agencies have responded, offering services such as discount vaccinations weeks before this year’s Kentucky Derby.

But there’s still some push-back against not only the measles vaccine, but vaccines in general. Opponents sometimes cite religious reasons or debunked studies linking vaccinations to autism as reasons not to be vaccinated.

Just last month, a Northern Kentucky high school student sued the local health department after it temporarily banned students who hadn’t been vaccinated for chickenpox from attending school during an outbreak.  A judge recently ruled in favor of a Kentucky health department, and that case is now going through an appeal.

On this week’s In Conversation, we talk about vaccinations, the science, the debate and what that means for the state.

Listen to In Conversation live on 89.3 WFPL Friday at 11 a.m. or follow along with our live Tweets at @WFPLnews. Call with your questions or comments at 502-814-TALK or tweet us with the hashtag #WFPLconversation. We’re also on Facebook.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.

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