Vaccinations

A hospital in Texas has cut ties with a nurse who apparently posted about a young patient with the measles in a Facebook group dedicated to "anti-vaxxers," people who reject the scientific evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Screenshots show a self-identified nurse saying the sick child's symptoms helped her understand why people vaccinate their children, but that "I'll continue along my little non-vax journey with no regrets."

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From Texas Standard.

Nonmedical exemptions for vaccines have been on the rise over the past few years. They allow parents to bypass vaccination requirements for their children, based on religious or philosophical beliefs. These exemptions are often referred to as NMEs. A recent report published by the Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine, or PLOS Medicine, analyzed trends in the 18 states that permitted NMEs, from 2009 to 2017. Texas is one of them.

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Only about a third of kids in Texas are getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to several cancers. The state ranks 47th in the country for its vaccination rate, according to the Texas Medical Association.

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A mumps outbreak in Texas has reached a 20-year high. Public health officials have identified 221 cases of the highly contagious disease so far this year, and it’s not because vaccination rates are dipping in Texas.

The future of a residential facility for adults with autism is in limbo after a vote by a city of Austin commission.

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Texas allows parents to have their kids opt out of vaccinations for measles, mumps and other diseases. Two years ago, California stopped allowing those exemptions; a similar Texas effort fell short. This session in Austin, the sponsor of that bill isn't trying to end the "conscientious" exemption. His allies are using a different strategy.

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From Texas Standard:

Outside of election year politics, few issues generate as much intense outrage – on both sides – as that of mandatory childhood vaccination.

According to the National Institute of Health, public concern about the adverse effects of vaccines has been part of our conversation since the first smallpox inoculation by Dr. Edward Jenner in 1796.

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Not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people are allergic to vaccines, others are receiving treatment for diseases like cancer, and some people are just too young. But doctors and state health authorities require public school students to be vaccinated—unless their parent signs a waiver exempting them from immunizations. The number of those exemptions is rising in Texas.


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When she was pregnant, Austin resident Katy Ludlow remembers, many parents were concerned about vaccinating their children. Actor Jenny McCarthy was speaking openly about her belief that her son’s autism was linked to vaccinations, and Ludlow grew worried.


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The Austin Regional Clinic will stop accepting new unvaccinated pediatric patients — that is, children whose parents have opted them out of routine vaccinations. The ARC announced its new policy this morning.

The regional health system, which has locations in Austin plus six surrounding cities, cites patient safety as the reason for the new regulation, set to take effect Wednesday.

“Parents who are unwilling to commit to a vaccination schedule will need to find another physician outside of ARC,” clinic officials said in the release.

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The Texas House gave final approval Monday to a bill that would change how schools report how much of their student body is vaccinated. The bill passed, 98 to 40, but only after a loud and long debate.

Right now school districts anonymously collect data on how many kids are vaccinated and then report that data district-wide. Austin Independent School District has an overall vaccination exemption rate of 1.6 percent, for instance. The bill that passed out of the House Monday would break down the data for individual schools.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently dealing with more than 100 cases of measles. In 2014, the U.S. saw 644 cases, more than it had seen in two decades. Texas had its own measles scare as recently as January, though it ultimately was just a scare.

At the same time, politicians as public-facing as New Jersey Gov. and likely presidential candidate Chris Christie are weighing in on the ongoing vaccination debate. Christie said that parents should be given a choice of whether or not to vaccinate their kids from diseases such as the measles. Another likely presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, echoed that sentiment, saying he believes kids should not be getting "ten vaccines at once" and that parents should have "some input."