An Expert Calls Texas “Ground Zero” For the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

The Texas Observer dives into the political influence wielded by anti-vaxxers in a story out today. The piece touches on the recent upswing in measles and mumps here in Texas and its apparent culprit: the skyrocketing number of parents choosing to forego vaccinations for their children. Non-medical exemptions, which the state refers to as “conscientious exemptions,” are up from 2,300 in 2003 to 53,000 in 2017.

Among the varying opinions from legislators and others, one physician and vaccination expert calls Texas “ground zero” for the anti-vaccination movement. “We’re getting all the messages that Texas is on the verge of a massive measles outbreak and no one seems to want to do anything about it,” says Peter Hotez, director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development at the Texas Medical Center. Read the full story here.

And for reference, here’s the percentage of students in North Texas counties (plus the state totals) with conscientious exemptions over the last three school years:

Collin:

2014-15: 1.74%

2015-16: 1.92%

2016-17: 2.08%

Dallas:

2014-15: .53%

2015-16: .60%

2016-17: .64%

Denton:

2014-15: 2.07%

2015-16: 2.05%

2016-17: 2.92%

Tarrant:

2014-15: 1.11%

2015-16: 1.10%

2016-17: 1.27%

Texas:

2014-15: .79%

2015-16: .84%

2016-17: .97%