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'Vaccines Cause Adults': Pediatric staff's response to anti-vaxxers after measles outbreak

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'Vaccines Cause Adults': Pediatric staff's response to anti-vaxxers after measles outbreak

Staff at a New York pediatric office sought to be "as loud" as anti-vaxxers and make headlines with the slogan "Vaccines Cause Adults." They did.

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Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Sonja Haller, USA TODAY Published 5:10 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019 | Updated 7:10 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019
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A measles outbreak is spreading across a Washington county known for choosing not to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency. USA TODAY

You've probably heard the anti-vaxxer slogan "vaccines cause autism."

Staff at a pediatrics office in New York thought it was time vaccination proponents stood up with a message of their own.

Disturbed by measles outbreaks in places like Oregon, Washington and their own Monroe County, workers at Legacy Pediatrics in Rochester, New York posed for a photo wearing T-shirts with a pro-vaccine message and shared it on Facebook.

The shirts say, "Vaccines Cause Adults."

They got their headlines, as the office staff have been written about and covered on TV stations, which the practice's Dr. Janet Casey said isn't easy to do.

"We have to be as loud and as emphatic as the anti-vaxxers and unfortunately it’s not very sexy or headline-grabbing to say that vaccinations are safe and effective," Casey said. "I'm real proud of us."

Casey said a staffer saw the "Vaccines Cause Adults" meme and a friend who owns a print shop offered to make the shirts for free. Many who saw the Facebook post want to know where to buy a T-shirt. But the post also drew parents who said vaccinations are a pharmaceutical company scam and were responsible for their children's illnesses and diagnoses.

Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media can be very effective in keeping kids calm and quiet, but it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.

Casey was still optimistic that more people are getting the message that vaccinations save lives.

"I’m pleased with how much vaccination proponents are speaking out right now since we’ve had these measles outbreaks," she said. "I thought for a long time it would take a diphtheria (a rare bacterial disease) or polio to return and a couple hundred people to die for people to say, wait a minute – this is unacceptable. Maybe we don’t have to get to that point."

Some parents opt not to vaccinate because of the discredited belief vaccines are linked to autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that there is no link and that there are no ingredients in vaccines that could cause autism.

The pediatrics office has sold 30 shirts from the 100 that were given to it for free from Rochester's Crazy Dog T-Shirts . The shirt company is selling clothes with the slogan online . A men's shirt is $11.99 and women's is $12.99. Youth shirts and baby onsies are $16.99.

The money collected from shirts sales from both the pediatrics office and printer will be donated to a local pediatric hospital and Unicef vaccination fund , Casey said. The shirts went on sale Tuesday.

Reporter Ashley May contributed to this report.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

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