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Health & Science

Report: Reluctance To Vaccinate Hurting Texas’ Ability To Respond To Public Health Threats

An annual study of public health security showed Texas is lagging the nation when it comes to vaccination against both childhood illnesses and influenza.

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PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION/FLICKR

The anti-vaccination movement is taking a toll on Texas' ability to respond to public health threats. An annual study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that comes even as health security preparedness is improving for the nation as a whole.

The study tracks six key measures of health security. One of the areas where Texas is falling farthest behind is in "countermeasure management," which includes vaccination.

"That's an issue that lots of states are struggling with now as we're seeing more people become hesitant to undertake vaccination, but that's an issue that's also confronting Texas and one that's very important for keeping the population protected against infectious disease outbreaks in particular," said Glen Mays, a professor of public health at the University of Kentucky and lead author of the report. Mays said that reflects not only a drop in vaccination for childhood diseases, such as measles, but also for influenza.

By contrast, the report finds Texas is above the national average when it comes to health security surveillance — that is, monitoring where threats emerge so they can be quickly contained.

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