The measles warning that has been issued by the Texas Health Department is giving new urgency to having parents get their kids vaccinated before the school year begins one month from Friday, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.
In the Northside ISD, Pascual Gonzalez says the district mandates that all students get vaccinated before the first day of class, and will not hesitate to keep a pupil out of class until the inoculations have been given.
The law allows parents to 'waive' the requirement on religious grounds, but Gonzalez says few parents take that option.
"100 or so waivers out of the 104,000 students that we have," he said. "It is certainly the right of a parent to waive shots, but they do it against the recommendations of the medical community and certainly of the school district."
A small but very vocal group, known as 'anti vaxxers,' is making completely unsubstantiated warnings that common childhood vaccinations lead to autism and other conditions, and health professions are fighting to make sure that they don’t make uniformed decisions that could leave their children in danger.
Measles is a very contagious disease, so contagious that doctors say that if an unvaccinated person comes into contact with a person with measles, there is a 90% chance that person will become infected.
The state is concerned about several teams of Texas adult softball players who came into contact with people with measles during a tournament in Wichita Kansas over the Fourth of July. 11 cases of measles have been confirmed in Kansas, and there are also mini outbreaks elsewhere in the country, with 566 cases confirmed in 20 states, the highest number since 2000.
So far, no cases have been confirmed in Texas, but the mobility of the population during summer vacation makes school officials nervous.
"The measles alert combined with the state of school on August 25, both of them are good reasons to check with your doctor, check with Metro Health, and get your kids vaccinated," Gonzalez said.