TEXAS IMMUNIZATIONS OPT-OUTS: The number of Texas students forgoing vaccinations for non-medical reasons is on the rise and has grown steadily since state lawmakers started allowing parents and legal guardians to opt out about 15 years ago. According to the Texas Standard, as of the 2017-2018 school year, more than 56,000 kids had at least one conscientious exemption from a vaccine. That accounts for just over one percent of the total student population in the state.
Chris Van Deusen is a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, which tracks these figures. He says, the vast majority of children have ALL of their vaccinations, so it’s not a public health concern statewide.
“But it certainly is something you have to think about when you look at smaller populations, at local populations, and you see some schools where the
exemption rates are at 20, 30, 40 percent. Maybe even more.”
A study released earlier this summer in the journal, Public Library Of Science Medicine (PLOS) identified four major Texas cities as hotspots for non-medical immunization exemption -- Houston, Fort Worth, Plano, and Austin.