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Legislators Working To Make It More Difficult To Opt Out Of Vaccinations

Wendy Rigby
Texas Public Radio

Lawmakers at the state capitol are filing bills that would make it more difficult for parents to opt-out of having to vaccinate their school-age children.

One of those bills filed by State Rep. Sarah Davis, a Houston Republican, would require parents wishing to opt out of vaccinations to take an online course. 

Another authored by Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat and nurse, would require parents to consult with a doctor about the dangers of not immunizing their child against certain diseases.

“We are trying to make sure that people get the correct information, evidence-based information that indicates the safety of vaccinations and the critical importance that everyone who can get immunized," Howard says.

Dr. Giovanni Lorenz is a San Antonio family physician and member of the non-profit The Immunization Partnership.  The group wants to increase immunization rates in Texas. 

At a press conference in Austin, Lorenz criticized Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood for saying immunizations may have affected his child’s autism. 

“Messages that are potentially clouded by personal or emotional arguments, they shouldn’t be public policy," Lorenz says.

The announcement of these bills comes on the heals of a mumps outbreak in Johnson County, which is located 20 minutes south of Fort Worth, most children in Texas are vaccinated to prevent onset and spread of mumps.