More Kids Opting Out Of Mandatory Vaccinations

Andrew Greenstein
July 25, 2018 - 1:12 pm
Healthcare, Doctor

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - With the new school year just weeks away, this is the time for parents to be sure their kids are up to date with their immunizations.

However, more and more kids are going without them.

By law, students are required to get seven shots before enrolling in school for the year:

- Diptheria/Tetanus/Pertussis

- Polio

- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

- Hepatitis A

- Hepatitis B

- Varicella

- Meningococcal

However, since 2004, parents have been able to claim exemptions based on a conscientious objection, such as a religious belief.

In the last school year, 2017-18, more than 56,000 students across the state went without at least one of those seven shots due to a conscientious objection.

Since the 2011-12 school year, the percentage of K-12 students that have opted out of at least one of those seven shots due to a conscientious objection has increased from 0.57% to 1.07%.

During that same time period in Dallas County, that percentage has gone from 0.35% to 0.74%.

In Tarrant County, it's increased from 0.79% to 1.45%.

In Collin County, that figure has increased from 1.17% to 2.21%.

Denton County has actually seen a decrease in kids opting out due to a conscientious objection in the last seven years, going from 3.17% down to 2.22%.

Terri Andrews, president of the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County, says unvaccinated kids put everyone at risk.

"The more children that are not vaccinated, the more likely we are to have an outbreak of measles, mumps or rubella," Andrews says. "In today's world, with all the travel that we do, exposure to these diseases is easy and happens more and more often."

Andrews says there is no logical reason for parents not to vaccinate their children.

"They (anti-vaxxers) are looking at phony science. Everybody does their research on the internet, and all of their research is anecdotal," says Andrews "There really is no sound medical information that vaccines cause autism or other diseases."

Jackie Schlegel, the executive director of the group Texans for Vaccine Choice, says parents should to be able to decide for themselves whether to vaccinate their children.

"At the end of the day, you are responsible for you and your child and any risk and benefits," says Schlegel. "And you are best equipped to make those medical decisions for yourself."

Schlegel says the group is not opposed to the vaccines themselves.

"We're not out promoting that nobody get vaccinated," says Schlegel. "We're not promoting that we dismantle the vaccine program. But vaccines, like any medical procedure, warrant informed consent.

"We have never filed legislation to take away your right to vaccinate, nor will we ever do so," Schlegel says.