App aims to encourage vaccinations with sick selfies

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s a hot button issue- vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control say they are necessary to protect your kids. Still, they say nearly two percent of New Mexico kindergarteners went unvaccinated in 2013. One Albuquerque local wants to change that. He’s made an app he says will make you think twice about avoiding the shots.

The public health advocate has designed at app aimed towards showing you what you’d look like with a contagious disease.

“I had come to that stunning point that we are a more attractive people because of vaccinations so emotionally, if we show people with the disease, it creates a very emotional response of, ‘oh my gosh,’ like horrified,” explained Disease Morph’s Founder Hubert Allen.

Allen is a contractor with the health department’s vaccinations for children program, visiting hundreds of clinics a year. He says there’s nothing wrong with questioning vaccines.

“There is some skepticism out there among people everywhere in the world and I think that’s a good idea. We need to be very skeptical about what we do with our body and what medicine does for us, but on the vaccination thing, a lot of research has gone into the safety of vaccines,” said Allen.

Some parents don’t like the ingredients in vaccines, others think they cause harmful side effects.

Yet, Allen says they save lives. Having worked in clinics across the state, Allen says he’s found some people need a little persuading to get their kids vaccinated.

“Something that’s going to help us push that extra five to ten percent who are very skeptical who didn’t want to get the MMR vaccine- that’s Measles, Mumps and Rubella- to say, you know what? I really don’t want to see my little kid or my little grandson look like this with measles if they can simply get a shot and be done with it,” Allen said.

Here’s how the app works. You take a selfie or a photo of a friend. You can then select the photo and adjust it through the app so that your face is framed up. Then comes the part that’s supposed to get you thinking- you can give yourself measles or small pox, the only disease that’s been eradicated in the wild.

“I had come to that stunning point that we are a more attractive people because of vaccinations so emotionally, if we show people with the disease, it creates a very emotional response of, ‘oh my gosh,’ like horrified,” said Allen.

While small pox isn’t around anymore, Allen says it’s important we remember the horrific nature of that deadly disease.

Now, Allen is looking for Disease Morph investors, insurance companies or healthcare providers who want to get on board. He hopes to release the app by the end of summer.

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