Are COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory for Texas Schoolchildren?
'Will this COVID-19 shot be required for Texas schoolchildren,' was the headline of an article published by DallasNews.com on December 21, 2020.
In response to this headline, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott quickly posted on Twitter: 'No. In Texas, vaccines are always voluntary.'
Texas law does require several immunizations against certain diseases for school attendance, such as polio, measles, and whooping cough. For the 2019-2020 school year, Texas’s conscientious exemptions were reported about 1.5 percent for 7th-grade students.
All 50 states currently have compulsory vaccination laws covering K-12 schoolchildren, and many states have mandatory vaccination laws protecting college students. But like many US states, existing laws enable families to opt-out for a variety of reasons.
State law not only establishes exemptions for school vaccination requirements but also establishes requirements regarding the exemption application process and the implications of an exemption in the event of an outbreak, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are 45 states and Washington D.C. that religious grant exemptions for people who have religious objections to immunizations.
Currently, 15 states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral, or other beliefs, states the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of June 26, 2020.
US courts have explained that while compulsory vaccination laws may burden religious practices, religious exemptions are not constitutionally required under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause since mandatory vaccination does not single out religion and is not motivated by a desire to interfere with religion.
In most instances, state school vaccination laws expressly apply to both public schools and private schools with identical immunization and exemption provisions.
According to Dr. Vincent Iannelli, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, many parents of school-age children who are opting out of vaccinations enrolls them into Waldorf Schools.
As of February 24, 2020, Dr. Iannelli reported updated vaccine exemption rates:
Waldorf School of Mendocino County (California) - 79.1% vaccine exemption rate,
Tuscon Waldorf Schools (Arizona) - 69.6% vaccine exemption rate,
Cedar Springs Waldorf School (California) - 64.7% vaccine exemption rate,
Waldorf School of San Diego (California) - 63.6% vaccine exemption rate, and
Austin Waldorf School (Texas) - 48% vaccine exemption rate.
‘Vaccinations have proven to be one of the most cost-effective and successful public health interventions,’ says the CDC. ‘Vaccines are useful not only because they protect individuals who have been vaccinated but also because they confer broader protection for communities by establishing “herd immunity.”
This means, when a sufficiently high proportion of a population is vaccinated against infectious diseases, the entire population can obtain protection.’
"Thanks to the Vaccines For Children program, children in our country are no longer at significant risk from diseases that once killed thousands each year,” said U.S. NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., in an earlier podcast.
Each year, vaccines prevent 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years, added Dr. Fauci.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the U.S. FDA or CDC.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based vaccine news.