09/26/2014 01:20 pm ET Updated Sep 26, 2014

Dr. Drew: Parents Shouldn't Dismiss Doctors On Vaccinations

Dr. Drew Pinsky had strong words for parents who ignore the expertise of their children's doctors and don't complete vaccination schedules.

When Pinsky joined HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd on Thursday to discuss his battle with prostate cancer, he spoke about a recent report that vaccination rates in wealthy communities in Southern California have fallen to levels similar to South Sudan as some well-to-do parents opt out of vaccines despite a whooping cough scare in Los Angeles.

"They can't get clean water in the Sudan, they can't get vaccines, but the elite communities in Southern California have similar vaccination rates," Dr. Drew said.

As an internist, Dr. Drew said it is "overwhelmingly obvious that the risks are far, far, far less than the benefits you get from [not completing] vaccinations." He feels the U.S. has a problem with "scientific illiteracy."

"You wouldn't take issue with your carpenter. You wouldn't take issue with your plumber. But you take issue with people ... that spend their whole lives studying science and developing their skills to give good advice to their patients, the people they're responsible for," Dr. Drew said. "And then you go, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know better, I know better.' No, no, you don't."

He added that his point is less about the intelligence of parents and more about the "infinitely complex" science of biology: "I don't mean that people aren't smart. I mean that we just don't train people in science very well in this country."

See the full HuffPost Live conversation with Dr. Drew here.

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