Houston Matters

Why Are Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions on the Rise in Harris County?

According to the Houston-based Immunization Partnership, which advocates for parents to vaccinate their children, the number of non-medical vaccine exemptions filed in Harris County has increased 79 percent over the past five years. Nearly one-third of Texans between the ages of 19 to 35 months did not complete the vaccination series to protect them from […]

According to the Houston-based Immunization Partnership, which advocates for parents to vaccinate their children, the number of non-medical vaccine exemptions filed in Harris County has increased 79 percent over the past five years.

Nearly one-third of Texans between the ages of 19 to 35 months did not complete the vaccination series to protect them from preventable diseases like measles and pertussis (whooping cough). More than 5,000 students in Harris County had an exemption on file last school year.

We discuss why and learn about the implications — not just for those who don’t get vaccinated, but also for other children who, for medical reasons, are not able to be vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to outbreaks.

Edel Howlin talks with State Rep. Garnet Coleman about his concerns. Then, we talk with Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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