Do you know the health of your child's school?
In addition to locking outside doors and monitoring playground equipment, vaccine requirements are a critical way to protect our children from harm in our communities’ schools. Here in Texas, school vaccine requirements protect kids from 11 different diseases.
Not everyone is vaccinated, however. Texas law allows families to opt out of vaccine requirements for non-medical reasons. While the vast majority of families choose to vaccinate on time and according to schedule, every year more students have a non-medical exemption on file. During the 2015-2016 school year, there were nearly 45,000 students who were opted out of at least one school vaccine requirement – a 9 percent increase from the previous school year.
This is concerning not just because those children are at risk for preventable diseases themselves, but also because there are kids in Texas schools who for medical reasons don’t have a choice. They cannot receive vaccines due to allergies or medical conditions. For those children, a chickenpox outbreak isn’t just a nuisance – it could be life-threatening.
For the parents of those kids, the percentage of kids who are unvaccinated is critical information when choosing a school. But currently in Texas, they do not have access to that information. While the percentage of kids being exempted out of one or more vaccines is collected at the campus level (the state does not collect individuals' personal health information), it is only published at the district level. In large school districts like Houston or Austin, that number doesn’t tell parents much.
If you think that parents have a right to know the health of their child’s school, join us as we bring this issue to the Texas state legislature. Here are 3 things you can do TODAY: