White House urges vaccinations amid measles threat

Parents should listen to public health officials who encourage vaccination, the White House said Friday amid reports that hundreds of people in Arizona may have been exposed to the measles virus.

“Being guided by the science in matters like this is typically the right approach,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding that research “certainly” indicates parents should vaccinate their children.

“That's, obviously, what our public health professionals recommend,” he said.


But Earnest also said he did not want to dispense medical advice, allowing only that the president believed “that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents” who should show a bias toward public health advice.

“But the science on this, as our public health professionals I'm sure would be happy to tell you, the science on this is really clear,” Earnest added.

Health authorities in three Arizona counties — including Maricopa, where the Super Bowl will be held Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium — are alerting individuals who may have come into contact with one of the seven confirmed cases of measles in the state.

Earnest said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was closely monitoring the situation, and suggested those showing symptoms should avoid public spaces.

“If you're sick, we recommend that you don't get on an airplane and you don't go to a crowded locations. And that's true of the flu and, you know, of other illnesses as well,” he said. “But this obviously is an illness that's a little bit more potent than the flu.”