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More Big Country parents rejecting vaccinations for their kids

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ABILENE, Texas - More Big Country students are opting out of vaccinations for personal or religious beliefs, according to Houston based non-profit The Immunization Partnership.

In a recently released report, the group stated that the number of parents rejecting vaccinations for their children in Taylor County increased tenfold -- claiming non-medical exemptions, things like personal or religious beliefs.

"But vaccines do work," said Kay Durilla, the Nurse Manager for the Abilene-Taylor County Health District.

Vaccines combat diseases like the measles, mumps and whooping cough.

"The unvaccinated are likely to get the disease and spread the disease and have more complications from the disease than any of the children who are vaccinated," Durilla said.

According to the World Health Organization, the Measles vaccine has saved more than 17 million people worldwide since 2000.

"We don't see them very much [of the diseases] because of the vaccine rates that we have and the herd immunity that we have built up in the community," Durilla said. "But that herd immunity is starting to dwindle as more and more people refuse vaccination."

Some Taylor County residents believe that vaccinations are important.

"I am not going to keep my kid from not getting a shot if it's going to save their life," Brenda Wise said.

Others admitted to opting out for personal reasons.

"There's a lot of Autism and stuff linked to vaccinations," Monique Romero said. "I do not want to do that, so I get my children exempt and they have been for the last four years."

According to Durilla, there is no scientific evidence that backs up the claim that vaccinations cause Autism.

In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor, released a study that claimed vaccinations caused Autism.

"There's no truth to that ... that case was falsified and the doctor lost his license," Durilla said.

That study has since been refuted and Wakefield lost his medical license in 2010 after he was found guilty of dishonesty.

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