By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
“Educate before you vaccinate” – that’s the primary message behind a new billboard that recently popped up in Bend.
The billboard is along 3rd Street, near the Bend River Promenade shopping area, appears to belong to the Vaccine Information Coalition, a Florida based anti-vaccination organization.
They say, among other things, that vaccines can cause dangerous reactions in children, including Autism.
Local health professionals, however, say that’s not the case.
“We do not have any data to support the billboard’s claim that vaccines that can cause chronic disease,” said Deschutes County Public Health Nurse Jill Johnson.
Johnson also denied the organization’s statement that vaccines are not safe or effective.
“The incidents of vaccine preventable disease has been greatly reduced since the development of vaccines,” Johnson said. “For instance, before vaccines there were about 500,000 cases of measles in the U.S. annually. After vaccines it was greatly diminished to just 100 or a few hundred. Really the vaccines are the safest and most effective that they’ve been in U.S. history.”
Johnson urges everyone to do their research and learn more from reputable sources as false information could be dangerous.
“It’s concerning because it’s so important that we protect the people in our community from vaccine preventable disease. So when misinformation is out there it does do damage.”