Valley doctors take stand on vaccines by turning away non-vaccinated people

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The measles outbreak is prompting some Valley doctors to protect their patients, especially those too young to get vaccinated.

Pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth McKenna says that she will ask the parents of the children a number of times to get their kids vaccinated, but if they refuse, she will ask them to find a new physician.

"We can't put our patients at risk that aren't able to get the vaccine, and that are at risk because they are young, just because if someone walks in with that disease, they can cause serious harm to our patients," said Dr. McKenna.

Dr. McKenna said more clinics, especially pediatrics in the Valley, are pushing away people who aren't vaccinated in order to protect patients.

"That's the serious thing about it," said Dr. McKenna. "If you have a child in your practice that is below the age of one, and you have a child who walks in with measles because their parents chose not to vaccinate, you're putting your practice and all the kids in your practice at risk of getting this very lethal disease."

Throughout the country, there are more than 700 cases of measles. According to the CDC, it's a record-breaking number. In Arizona, there has been one case of the measles in Pima County due to travel, and the child was too young to get vaccinated.

Dr. McKenna said Arizona is one of the highest states with people who are not vaccinated.

"We have one of the most lenient exemption policy in the nation, so people are able to claim religious and personal exemptions," said Dr. McKenna.

If the measles outbreak were to come to Arizona...

"There would be 5,000 Arizona kindergartners who would be at risk for getting measles, and that's just way too high," said Dr. McKenna. She went on to say that she does talk about risks with those unsure about vaccinating.