With children across Texas already back in school, it’s only fitting that we discuss immunization. For most Texans, that means taking immunization records to the registrar or nurse of their children’s schools to ensure they’re meeting all the requirements of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services for the 2019-2020 school year.
However, if you’ve kept up with the news anytime in the past five years, you’ve probably seen, read, or heard about groups of parents across the country who choose not to give their children recommended vaccinations for a host of different diseases. Regardless of your personal opinion on that parenting choice, it is a topic of conversation that many parents don’t know enough about. It requires an open dialogue with your own children as well as the administration team at their school or in the school district itself to make sure you have all the necessary information about this choice, and how it can potentially affect your kids.
The Legal Right for No Vaccines
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has a comprehensive website on vaccines, including everything necessary for the 2019-2020 school year. Texas allows two exemptions from these vaccines. The first is with a doctor’s note stating that the vaccine is harmful to a child or family member’s health. The second is if parents choose to exempt their child from a vaccine for “reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.”
A Brief History of the Choice not to Vaccinate
Parents have been choosing not to vaccinate their children against government recommendations since the beginning of vaccinations in the US, dating back more than 160 years. In 1998, a British researcher named Andrew Wakefield published a paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This led huge throngs of parents to stop giving their children this vaccination, even after it was discovered in 2004 that Wakefield has largely invented the paper after being paid by lawyers representing parents out to sue vaccine manufacturers. Despite this retraction, in 2018 the CDC report showed that 1.3% of kids born in 2015 had not received any vaccines by the age of 2, a rise of 44% from those born in 2011.
The Danger of Unvaccinated Children
The biggest risk of not vaccinating children from birth is that it leaves their immune system weakened against all threats. This puts them at a much higher risk of infection than a vaccinated baby. Given the choice, any doctor will tell you that it’s much better to take a vaccine to prevent a disease rather than medicine to treat it after it already occurs. Furthermore, a child who contracts an illness they have not been vaccinated for can spread it to others who have not received the vaccination, such as elderly relatives who that vaccine did not exist for growing up. Additionally, several states have removed the “choice of conscience” waiver from their public-school mandates, meaning if students do not have a religious or medical reason not to be vaccinated, they will not be allowed on campus.
The health of your children’s immune system is very important, so keeping on top of immunizations should be taken into consideration while getting your child ready to go back to school. Our experienced staff is here to provide the community with the utmost quality of services to help our community. Grand Parkway Emergency Center is here to support your family 24/7, 365 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages.
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