HOUSTON — In Texas, the growing trend is to give the doctors no shot at giving shots to your kids. Texas tops the nation in vaccine exemptions, according to medical journal PLOS medicine. About 50,000 of more than 5 million schoolchildren in the Lone Star state don’t get vaccinations by parental choice.
“It helps protect our kids so they can be healthy and that’s important for us,” says mother of two Jasmine Rodriguez.
Dr. Melanie Mouzoon of Kelsey Seybold Clinic in Houston says the reason for this is misinformation on the web and misunderstanding by well meaning parents.
“There are parents that strongly believe vaccines are harmful and the science has proven that they are not, but it’s a myth that will not die,” Mouzoon said.
Myth or not, some Texas parents fear their child can contract diseases from vaccines. Texas law allows exemptions for personal beliefs.
“I believe in a delayed schedule,” Houston mother Amanda Hanson said. “I think they try to put too many vaccines in too quickly, and it’s hard on the kids immune system.”
Four Texas cities, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and Plano sit high on the list of kids not getting their shots. Despite that, doctors say vaccines have proven beneficial for years and that instead of focusing on doubting, some doctors argue, parents should focus on protecting their kids from vaccine “preventable” diseases like influenza and measles.
Fifteen years ago, only 3,000 Texas children were not vaccinated.