55.1 F
Fort Worth
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Government Texas eyes immunizations as more kids file exemptions

Texas eyes immunizations as more kids file exemptions

Other News

Tarrant County DA’s office changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuna cases

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuana cases. The Tarrant County  Criminal District Attorney’s Office on Monday, Nov....

Arlington selects new police chief from Baltimore department

Col. Al Jones, a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, has been appointed the new police chief of the the City of...

Family of Black woman shot through window sues Texas officer

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Family members of a Black woman who was killed when a white police officer fired through a window of...

Law firm offers free estate plans for health care workers during pandemic

Fort Worth attorney Erik Martin says he felt compelled to find a way for his law firm to join the effort to support frontline...

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas could be the site of the nation’s next major fight over stricter requirements for immunizations as rates of schoolchildren who refuse shots for non-medical reasons climb in America’s second-largest state.

The number of Texas kindergarten through 12th grade students who reported filing conscientious exemptions for at least one immunization last school year increased 19-fold since 2003 — though that is still less than 1 percent of enrolled students, according to the Immunization Partnership, a pro-vaccination Texas nonprofit. Texas requires students to be immunized unless their parents choose not to do so for medical or philosophical reasons.

Some Texas lawmakers said Wednesday that they want to work to bolster immunization rates and to require parents who object to vaccines for non-medical reasons to watch an online tutorial about the medical effectiveness of vaccines.

The most common immunizations protect against measles, mumps, and rubella, or German measles, as well as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and hepatitis A and B.

Texas and 17 other states allow philosophical exemptions to vaccines. California used to let students forgo vaccinations for similar reasons — only to approve some of the country’s strictest vaccine requirements last year. That law eliminated religious and personal beliefs as reasons for opting out of mandatory immunizations.

The small group of Texas lawmakers that wants to make changes isn’t planning to go that far when the GOP-controlled Legislature heads back into session Jan. 10.

“The fact is that people have a choice to not immunize, but we need the herd effect,” Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat told reporters Wednesday. “We need a significant number to be immunized to not only protect themselves but to protect the larger community.”

Past efforts to improve immunization rates in Texas mostly have been stymied by opposition from conservative legislators who are immunizations skeptics, as well as a political group called Texans for Vaccine Choice. They point to discredited studies linking immunizations to health problems including autism.

Texans for Vaccine Choice did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Preparations for a legislative clash come amid a mumps outbreak south of Fort Worth, where immunization refusal rates in school districts are higher than the state average.

Neighboring Arkansas has reported nearly 1,900 confirmed or suspected cases of mumps this year, including many involving children who got vaccines. That outbreak has centered in an area where opt-out rates exceed those in other parts of Arkansas, according to that state’s Department of Health. Like Texas, Arkansas allows parents to claim medical, religious or philosophical exemptions from school vaccination requirements.

In Texas, nearly 45,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students reported filing conscientious exemptions to vaccinations last school year, which represents 0.84 percent of the number of students reported enrolled by schools in an annual survey, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. But as recently as the 2008 academic year, only about 12,600 public school students reported filing conscientious exemptions to immunizations, or 0.28 percent of that year’s reported enrollment total.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, a suburban Houston Republican who is sponsoring a proposal to require an online class for Texans who get non-medical exemptions to school immunizations, said that “for some reason, there’s a growing movement afoot to question the science and effectiveness of vaccines.”

“Discredited research offered by discredited sources has nonetheless gained traction,” Davis said Wednesday. “It has created doubts in parents and uncertainty among the public. We’re here because it’s time to fight back.”

Associated Press writer Jill Bleed contributed to this report from Little Rock, Arkansas.


close






Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

JRB Fort Worth chosen for main operating base for C-130J aircraft

Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth has been selected as a main operating base for eight C-130J aircraft at the 136th Airlift...

3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper

By DANICA KIRKA Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects...

Tarrant County DA’s office changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuna cases

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuana cases. The Tarrant County  Criminal District Attorney’s Office on Monday, Nov....

Arlington selects new police chief from Baltimore department

Col. Al Jones, a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, has been appointed the new police chief of the the City of...

These health care workers will be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine

Health care workers will be the first people in Texas to receive a COVID-19 vaccine once one receives emergency approval from the U.S. government,...