The Disneyland measles outbreak has brought vaccinations to the nation’s attention. All 50 states have laws requiring vaccinations for children in order to protect the general public’s health. Of the 50 states, 48 allow for religious exemptions and 18 also allow for philosophical exemptions, including Texas.
Not vaccinating children endangers other children, especially those who can not get vaccinations, such as infants and those with cancer.
The state of Texas allows parents to exempt their children from vaccination requirements for day care, school, and college for reasons of conscience including a religious belief or for medical reasons. In 2003, the Texas legislature expanded the reasons a parent can claim an exemption, making it easier for parents to skip the vaccinations.
In the Houston area, an average of 1 percent of school children are not vaccinated. Public school districts have a noticeably higher rate of children vaccinated compared to private, religious schools. For example, Dickinson ISD, Galveston ISD, Goose Creek ISD, and Houston ISD all have exemptions rates lower than 0.5%, which means that 99.5+% of those area school children are vaccinated and protected. Clear Creek ISD, Friendswood ISD, Katy ISD, and Spring ISD all have exemption rate of more than 1% of its students.
In contrast, a few local, religious schools, Bay Area Christian School (in League City), First Baptist Christian Academy, and Cypress Christian School have rates of exemptions at 4.4%, 4.3%, and 3.8% respectively. Alarmingly, Bay Area Charter schools, which operates an elementary school in El Lago, a middle school and a high school in League City, has an exemption rate of 8.5%.
The effectiveness of vaccinations have been widely studied and verified. Vaccinations are the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases and are largely responsible for the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the restriction of diseases such as polio, measles and tetanus, per the World Health Organization.