FRAZIER: COVID vaccine talks parallel measles outbreak of 2015

Published 4:00 am Saturday, September 11, 2021

I interviewed Dr. Gordon Sluis, a pediatrician that worked at the Street Clinic, in 2015. 

There had been an outbreak of measles with a reported 121 cases in 17 states, and my editor at the time thought it would be prudent for us to do a story. The surge in measles cases was caused by parents not wanting to vaccinate their children due to information that was later proven to be false. 

This sounds similar to what we are experiencing right now with the COVID vaccine — people are afraid to take a vaccine because of something they have read, more than likely, on social media. 

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This is disheartening. 

Because of false information, folks are afraid of what the vaccine may do to them while discounting what harm COVID-19 and its long-term effects could cause.  

Dr. Dan Edney, who is a chief medical officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health and a local physician, has emphasized on many occasions the safety of the vaccine. Ninety-six percent of all doctors in the country, he keeps saying, have received the vaccine. 

That to me is pretty darn convincing and a heck of a lot more reliable than anything I could read on the Internet. 

As I continued to re-read the interview with Sluis, I was taken aback at how relevant his words are today. 

In a quote, Sluis said, “If you are exposed, you will probably get it (measles) if you are not already protected. It’s a 90-percent likelihood of catching it from somebody that you are in contact with.”  

Ironically, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who is the senior medical officer with the MSDH, practically said those exact words this year after the Delta variant became so rampant. 

“You will either get the vaccine or COVID,” he said. 

COVID-19 may be a new virus, but how we react, or should I say act, depends on all of us. 

The same week my story on the measles ran, a bill that would weaken Mississippi’s childhood vaccination law by allowing religious or personal belief exemptions died. 

Currently, Mississippi has some of the most stringent vaccine requirements in the country — and we are safer for it. 

On Thursday, President Biden spoke of enacting a law, now that the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA, that would require all federal employees and contract workers as well as businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated. 

With this proposed legislation, some are breathing a sigh of relief, while others are in an uproar. 

I am an advocate for the vaccine — mostly for the same reasons Sluis stated in the interview about measles. 

It would be helpful to think of getting the vaccine for selfish and unselfish reasons — selfishly for not wanting your child or your family to contract the disease and unselfishly for not wanting to spread the disease.  

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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