Vaccine exemptions on the rise
April 19, 2017
Filed under News
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The risk of certain preventable diseases spreading in Frisco ISD schools could increase as a growing number of parents have filed for vaccine exemptions since 2003. That’s when state lawmakers allowed for more parent exemptions including reasons of conscience. Previously only medical or religious reasons were allowed for vaccine exemptions.
The number of conscientious exemptions reported by Frisco ISD to the Texas Department of State Health Services in the 2015-16 school year was 2.05 percent, which is more than double the state average
“Frisco ISD takes the health and safety of our students very seriously and is committed to fostering the best possible learning environment for all,” FISD Assistant Director of Communications Meghan Cone said in a Community Impact Newspaper article. “Frisco ISD strongly encourages all families to vaccinate their children, as it protects the individual student’s health and that of the entire community. At the same time, Frisco ISD respects the law and each family’s individual decision regarding vaccines.”
There are two proposals currently under consideration in the Texas Legislature that would make it harder for parents to obtain a vaccine exemption. However, the Keller-based Texans for Vaccine Choice are lobbying against legislation that would limit exemptions.
“These bills would place a barrier between parents and their exemptions,” Texans for Vaccine Choice Director of State Policy Rebecca Hardy said in a Community Impact Newspaper article. “These bills also assume the parents that are requesting these exemptions are uneducated, when in fact all the research shows that those that choose personalized vaccination schedules are, in fact, quite educated.”
Here on campus, school nurse Emily Mikeska says the recent outbreaks of the mumps in the North Texas area has schools apprehensive of possible contagions.
“It’s the ones that aren’t vaccinated that we’re most concerned about and if there was an outbreak of something there would be a notification process,” Mikeska said. “They would possibly need to be excluded from attending school until we got an all clear because there’s incubation periods.”