Health experts say vaccination decline among Texas children – Houston Public Media

A 17-year-old girl receives her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic in a program that provides school supplies, Covid-19 vaccines, face masks, and other resources for children and their families. Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles, California on August 7, 2021.

Health experts in Texas say they are concerned that fewer children are being vaccinated for the new school year, and that some parents are getting misinformation about vaccines online.

Experts also worry that some diseases, such as measles and polio, will make a comeback. Recently, New York City reported its first case of polio after 10 years.

Dr. Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, said the state Legislature’s session in January could introduce new legislation on mandatory vaccinations.

“We want to bring to the attention of parents, to bring to the attention of the Legislature on this issue that what we are doing now is the right thing,” he said. “We want to keep our kids healthy by making sure these routine childhood vaccinations are still happening in our state.”

Sanborn added that if vaccines were not mandated in Texas, 30% of children would be unvaccinated, which could put many children “at risk.”

According to the Immunization Partnership, 60,000 kindergartners in the state of Texas are behind on vaccinations and 85,000 children are unvaccinated.

“Between the last pre-pandemic school year and the beginning of last school year, we saw a dramatic decline in immunizations for kindergartners,” said Terry Burke, executive director of the Immunization Foundation.

Burke said there are many reasons for the lack of vaccinations, such as lack of access to health care, parents not wanting to take their children to pediatricians for fear of their children getting sick, and misinformation.

“Vaccines shouldn’t be one of the things they worry about, vaccines are the easiest thing they can do to protect their children from everything they worry about.”

She said she is concerned about the passage of bills related to vaccines in next year’s state legislative session that could affect children and public school enrollment.

“We have groups planning to introduce 50-60 anti-vaccine bills in our next legislative session,” she said. “They are organizing to block any vaccine in Texas that is less than five years after FDA approval.”

Glenn Fennelly, president of pediatrics at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, says the best way to keep children healthy and safe is to get vaccinated.

“We should fear these diseases, not the vaccine,” he said. “Vaccines are safe and they are effective.”

He said that since many diseases like polio, whooping cough, influenza, meningitis and measles, which are one of the major killers of children, have a bad effect on children, vaccinating children is a top priority for doctors.

“Vaccines save nearly three million lives worldwide every year,” he said.

Dr. Jason Turke, a consultant at Children’s Pediatrics Keller Parkway in Cook, said there is a lot of misinformation and misinformation that is keeping parents from vaccinating their children.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing the influence of groups that influence good parents who want to do the right thing for their children,” he said.

Turke also said he regrets that he’s “seeing more and more indicators that we’re going to see more instances of disease.”

According to Houston health experts, immigrant families who have moved to the Houston area from other countries are the first to vaccinate their children and make sure they are up to date.

Thirty percent of children in the state of Texas are immigrants or come from immigrant families.

“They often come from countries where they’ve seen firsthand the devastation of these vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Vicki Regan, vice president of the Women’s and Children’s Service Line at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

She said people now trust information from the Internet more than their doctors.

“The evidence we have can show you, it’s been proven many years ago that these vaccines are safe and effective.”

Regan said social media has played a big role in a lot of information and she encourages families to talk to their children’s pediatricians with any concerns.

“Bring the data you’ve been reading on the Internet to your doctor’s or pediatrician’s office and discuss what fears are keeping you from vaccinating your child.”

Before the pandemic, doctors said there were cases of measles in Mexico, but rates have declined.

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