Parents should know school vaccine rates
In the face of rising numbers of Texas parents opting to not have their children vaccinated, it makes perfect sense to require schools to make public their vaccination rates.
It would help parents make informed decisions about the health of their children and others.
A pair of bills in the Texas Legislature, House Bill 2249 and Senate Bill 1010, would do just this. The legislation would require school districts to report vaccination rates by school, rather than just district-wide. The data is public, anonymous and already exists. It’s just difficult to access for most people. Regardless of the fate of this legislation, Bexar County school districts should make this school-level data easily available to parents.
The double tragedy of the growing anti-vaccine movement is parents not only put their own children at risk of preventable diseases, but they also put others at risk. Specifically, children too young to be vaccinated, and those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Imagine parents with a child old enough to attend first grade, but also a baby who has not been vaccinated. Those parents might want to know the vaccine rates at the school.
Naturally, the anti-vaccine movement opposes this legislation, citing concerns about bullying and violating privacy. This is nonsensical since the data is anonymous and already exists.
The hard reality is the anti-vaccine movement is gaining ground in Texas, largely thanks to a vaccine exemption for reasons of conscience, and the false belief that vaccines cause autism. There is no scientific evidence to support this belief.
Closing this loophole would be the right public health prescription for Texans. But if Texas lawmakers insist on accommodating the anti-vaccine movement, they should at least make school-level vaccine rates as accessible as possible for everyone else.