Texas immunization exemptions could put kids at risk
POSTED: Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 10:52am
UPDATED: Friday, August 29, 2014 - 9:10am
DENTON COUNTY (KDAF) — Like it or not, kids have been lining up to get immunized for school. After all, it's a state law, right? Not so fast.
"Children aren't necessarily required to be immunized to attend public school," Dena Dunn said.
Dunn's grandson Lucas, who has been battling leukemia for three and a half years, is now strong enough to go back to school full-time, but his immune system is still weak.
"Even though he finished treatment the second of this month, he cannot start his immunizations for at least six months," Dunn said.
However, it turns out even perfectly healthy kids don't have to get shots.
"All a parent has to do to exempt their children from immunizations is fill out an affidavit," Dunn said.
Yep, just go to the Texas Health Department website and choose an exemption from immunization requirements for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
"Diseases that we thought had been eradicated during my childhood are making a comeback and it scares me to death for my grandson," Dunn said.
Lucas is winning his battle with leukemia. However, Dunn says unvaccinated kids put him at risk of dying from a disease like measles, which is preventable.
Now before you say, 'What about autism?' – which some parents worry can be triggered by vaccines – that's something Dunn has dealt with too.
"We have another family member who was diagnosed with autism and do we blame that on his immunizations? No."
Lucas will get vaccinated as soon as his doctor gives the okay. Until then, his grandmother is trying to keep him and other kids with weak immune systems safe.
"I do plan on pursuing it and getting on the bandwagon for immunizing your children because to me it's just nuts not to," Dunn said.