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State of Texas Data Reveals Vaccine Exemptions have Quadrupled Over Last Decade

State of Texas Data Reveals Vaccine Exemptions have Quadrupled Over Last Decade

State of Texas Data Reveals Vaccine Exemptions have Quadrupled Over Last Decade 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

One of the longest running medical debates surrounds the use of vaccinations. While some parents have no issue with vaccinating their children, while others are unhappy with the government mandating their children’s medical decisions.

Conscientious Exemptions

More and more, the state of Texas is receiving conscientious exemptions from state-mandated vaccinations. Last year alone, more than one percent of Texas students – both public and private schools – received such exemptions. Last year’s numbers are very telling, as the state saw four times as many exemptions as the 2007 – 2008 school year. According to state data, this rate has increased every single year since then.

A Parent’s Right to Make Medical Decisions  

The biggest argument of parents who have obtained or support the exemptions is that they should be the ones to be making medical decisions for their children. Conservatives have been pushing for more leniencies when it comes exemptions, wishing to make it much easier to obtain forms.

Society’s Right to Maintain Health & Safety

As for those who are strongly for childhood vaccinations, including physicians, the main argument is that they save countless lives. As evidenced by recent spikes in many infectious diseases throughout Texas, public health officials are pointing the finger at conscientious exemptions, arguing that they put all children at risk – including those who cannot be vaccinated due to other medical reasons. Thus, this has the power to weaken the immunity of children in the community.

Public School Requirements

In order to attend schools in Texas, children are required to be vaccinated against whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and meningococcal disease. However, since 1972, Texas has permitted religious exemptions to those vaccinations, which are required to attend school. Then, in 2003, then-Gov. Rick Perry instituted a bill that allowed for parents to opt out of receiving vaccinations simply because of their personal beliefs. To be exempt, parents must submit a request – either online or by snail mail – an affidavit form from the Department of State Health Services.

Vaccinations and Trust

Donald Murphey, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, has seen the major positive impact of vaccinations. “I see kids with serious infections all the time. I know what things were like before we had some of the new vaccines, and I’ve seen kinds of diseases that were serious in kids go away when we had new immunizations come out,” he said. “The public doesn’t trust doctors and the whole medical field. They don’t trust pharmaceutical companies. They don’t trust anybody anymore.”

In 1998, incorrect research that linked vaccinations to autism spurred on much controversy and has left a lasting impression despite later evidence disproving that same research and the fact that the U.S. vaccine supply is the safest it’s ever been.