FOX19 Investigates: No immunization requirement for Ohio preschool kids

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - According to the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, Ohio is the only state in the country that doesn't require immunizations for children in preschools and daycare.

Jean Walker, owner of the Willow Tree House Preschool in Mount Auburn, feels that's a good call on the part of Ohio lawmakers.

"I don't think it's necessary for the State of Ohio to tell us our children need to be immunized," Walker said.

Doctor Robert Frenck at Cincinnati Children's Hospital disagrees.

"To me, immunization is the most important thing we can do for our children in preventing infectious diseases," Frenck told FOX19's Amy Wagner.

What is more alarming, according to Frenck, is that some of the diseases that immunizations protect against, like pertussis or whooping cough, can be much more dangerous in a younger child.

"Most of the diseases we are trying to prevent with immunizations are more severe with younger age groups'" added Frenck.

For Hillary Mount, a mother of a toddler in an Ohio daycare, it's especially frightening.

"As a mother, it makes you anxious about your child in a daycare around children who may or may not be vaccinated and can carry illness," Mount said.

Walker points out the worst her preschool has ever faced is a case of chicken pox in a child who wasn't vaccinated. However, doctors argue those children who aren't vaccinated put those who are at risk.

"The scary thing is that vaccinated children are also an increased risk of some of those illnesses just by being exposed to kids that are unvaccinated if they contract the illness," Mount said.

While Jean Walker has no ill will toward the state, she simply feels the people making decisions about these children should be their parents.

"My parents who don't get immunizations or who stagger them have done a lot of research, " Walker said.

Individual preschools and daycares can require immunizations. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services does outline recommended vaccines for preschools and childcare centers.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.