GOP doctor: Vaccinate your kids

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHouse approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran GOP rep: Children are free to leave migrant camps at 'any time' MORE, a longtime obstetrician, knows firsthand why people should vaccinate their children against measles.

The Texas Republican caught the painful, highly contagious disease when he was 5 or 6 years old — years before a vaccine became available in his hometown of Denton, Texas.

“It was a pretty acutely uncomfortable viral illness,” Burgess said in a phone interview on Monday, explaining that one of the textbook symptoms of “hard, shaking chills” was spot on.

“You want a blanket because of the chills but you can’t stand anything touching your skin.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging parents to vaccinate their children after more than 100 cases of measles were confirmed in 14 states, most of them linked to an outbreak at Disneyland in California. In an interview before the Super Bowl, President Obama implored parents to get their children vaccinated.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, made headlines Monday, when he said parents should have "some measure of choice" in deciding whether to vaccinate their kids. His office quickly walked back his comments, clarifying that “there is no question kids should be vaccinated” against a disease like measles.

Burgess said he had no comment about Christie’s remarks because he had not seen them. But the conservative GOP congressman said he and his wife had vaccinated their three children against a number of diseases when they were younger.

And Burgess, a fierce critic of ObamaCare, agreed with the president’s advice that parents should vaccinate their children from measles, chickenpox, polio and other preventable diseases.

“I recall it was pretty ironclad. You had to produce a vaccination certificate before you’re admitted to public school,” Burgess said, “and I don’t think that’s wrong.”

“The elimination of preventable diseases has been one of biggest success stories over the past 50 years. We shouldn’t discount it, because it has made a significant impact on public health.” added Burgess, who said he had never seen a case of the measles in 26 years of practicing medicine because vaccinations had made the disease so rare.

“As we saw at Disneyland, there’s a risk for those who choose to go unvaccinated.”

Burgess graduated from University of Texas Medical School in Houston and completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. It was there he learned how dangerous — and even fatal — these diseases can be for certain segments of the population, including pregnant women.

The Dallas hospital lost a young pregnant woman who had come down with the chickenpox and viral pneumonia, he recalled. It was a blow to the local medical community.

“These are significant illnesses,” Burgess said. “We just don’t see them anymore" because of large immunization programs.