KATY, TX – Hate to tell you, kids, but it’s almost back to school time, which means getting your shots up to date. That is, unless your parents opt out.
More and more are doing that, despite the majority of doctors encouraging vaccinations against things like Polio, the mumps, and measles. Anti-vaccine folks say they contain dangerous chemicals and may cause more harm than good… even Autism.
Anna Dragsbaek of the Immunization Partnership in Katy, says, not so, “That is their opinion, but it’s not based in fact. It’s not based in science.”
Last school year, parents of 45,000 Texas kids requested non-medical vaccine exemptions. That’s almost a 9% increase over the previous year. “In Katy,” says Dragsbaek, “the rate of people choosing non-medical exemptions for their children is one and 1/2 times the state average. In Conroe, it’s two times the state average. In Cy-Fair, it’s gone up almost one percentage point in just one year.”
She says non-vaccinating families tend to cluster together, “So there could be schools within Katy ISD or Cy-Fair ISD that have dangerously high rates of non-medical exemptions.”
Katy mother of two Tisha Loche strongly supports inoculations. “If my child is going to be playing with your child in school, it’s important to get them vaccinated,” she says, “It’s not just for the health of their children but all of the children that have to play with their children.”
“From a community perspective,” explains Dragsbaek, “the danger is that those children could spread very dangerous disease to others.”
In California, they’ve passed a mandatory vaccination law for kids in public and private schools. No vaccination; no admission.
It’s caused quite an uproar among anti-vax folks, like Karen Kain, “This is America. We should be the ones who tell our families what they’re gonna be injected with.”
Any chance big government will pass a similar law in Texas? “Instead of an approach like they have in California,” says Dragsbaek, “we would like to see Texans be better educated about the choices that they’re making.”
It’s tough with so much iffy information out there, but she says you can get scientific proof at sites like ImmunizeUSA.org. She adds, though, “Your best source for accurate information is your doctor.”