Anti-vaccine movement is resulting in first deaths, says expert

Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert, said in an interview that aired Wednesday on Hill.TV's "Rising" that the anti-vaccine movement is resulting in deaths for the first time. 

"There [are] three major diseases that concern me. One is influenza, and of course, we're coming up on flu season. The last flu season in January–February 2018, we had almost 200 children die of influenza and more than 80 percent of those kids were not vaccinated, despite recommendations," Hotez, dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told host Buck Sexton. 

"So for the first time now we're seeing deaths because of this anti-vaccine movement," he added. 

Hotez's comments come as Americans flock to get their flu shots and as a measles outbreak sweeps across parts of New Jersey and the greater New York City area. 

"Measles is often the first one you see because it's so highly contagious, highly transmissible. So when you see a drop in vaccine coverage, measles is the first one that you see, and that accounts for this awful measles outbreak that we now have in New York and New Jersey," Hotez said. 

NorthJersey.com reported on Tuesday that 75 measles cases had been confirmed in New York's Rockland County, while Brooklyn reported 24 confirmed cases and New Jersey had 14 confirmed cases. 

The recent outbreak in New York and New Jersey is linked to people who have traveled to Israel and came back with the infection, according to the local outlet. 

Health officials say most of the people who have been infected with measles have not been vaccinated.

— Julia Manchester