Parents avoid chicken pox vaccine with mail ordered candy

By: Sara Humphrey Email
By: Sara Humphrey Email

ARDMORE, OK - It is a new trend that health officials are calling dangerous, parents ordering candy online that is infected with a contagious disease and giving it to their children.

Vaccines have always been a controversial issue for some parents but others believe in them.

Mother of two Erin Bantis said, "Yes, I have gotten vaccines. All of them that are required at this point for my kids."

Originally parents who did not want their child to receive the chicken pox vaccine, Varicella, let their child contract it naturally.

Now, thanks to a growing trend, hard candy, like lollipops, are being infected with the chicken pox virus and sold online, and some parents are buying them to infect their children.

Ardmore Public School nurse Renita Dotson said, "I just cant believe it. I can't believe that when you look at things that are out there and the things on the internet I guess Im not really surprised."

Dotson said she was disturbed to find out parents are tricking their children into contracting chicken pox and government officials warn these chicken pox lollipops are illegal.

Jerry Martin, U.S attorney with the Middle District of Tennessee told the Associated Press, “Can you imagine getting a package in the mail from this complete stranger that you know from Facebook because you joined a group, and say here, drink this purported spit from some other kid?”

"You look at it and you see the suckers and the colors are so pretty, like the colors of rainbow so it looks like that is okay," Dotson said. "And that is not ok. You are just taking someone's life into your hands. They could die."

Facebook groups like "find a pox party near you" were listed but taken down but supporters of the candy are still finding ways to connect and share where to find the candy virus.

Bantis said, "To me its gross. I mean I don't want to pass judgement on any particular person but I personally wouldn't do it."

The Centers for Disease Control called Varicella a very effective and safe way to prevent chicken pox.

Nine out of ten patients who receive the vaccination are completely protected according to the CDC.

For more information on Varicella visit www.cdc.gov.


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