Updated
June 18th, 2018

Texas Private Schools Are Anti-Vaxx ‘Hot Spots’

Excessive nonmedical vaccine exemptions may place children at risk

According to updated information, private schools in Texas have become potential infectious disease ‘hot-spots’ for children.

For the 2016/17 academic year, the Texas State Department of Health Services vaccine Conscientious Exemptions Report identified 42 private schools with 10 percent or greater Conscientious Exemption enrollment.

The leading Texas schools reporting Conscientious Exemptions are:

  • Austin Waldorf School - Travis - 48.98% vaccine exemption rate *
  • Alliance Christian Academy - Tarrant - 40.95%
  • Joshua Adv. Multi-Grade - Johnson - 32.53%
  • Regents Academy - Nacogdoches - 30.77%
  • Dripping Springs Christian Academy - Hays - 25.33%
  • Trinity Christian Academy - Lamar - 25%
  • Waxahachie Preparatory Academy - Ellis - 22.89%
  • Headwaters School - Travis - 21.50%
  • Sterling Classical School - Williams - 20.31%

This Texas-based data contrasts with the national median percentage of kindergartners with at least one vaccine exemption of just 2 percent, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Texas, the Administrative Code §97.62 allows for an exemption from immunizations for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.

This Texas private school analysis correlates with a new study of Non-Medical Exemptions (NME), which identified Austin, Houston, Ft. Worth and Plano in its top 13 city listing.

This new study, led by Dr. Peter Hoetz, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, indicates that anti-vaccine activities have been established in major metropolitan areas, rendering select cities vulnerable to vaccination-preventable disease outbreaks.

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“I don’t think there’s any question that vaccines are among the very short list of beneficial health interventions in history,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“So when you look at the cost-benefit both in economic cost, as well as cost in suffering and death, vaccines are a positive preventive intervention,” said Dr. Fauci in a statement.

These new studies lead to a common question, ‘how does a parent concerned about infectious diseases know which school to enroll their children?’

The USA Today school search app can help parents answer that question.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

* Note: While the vaccine exemption percentage appears significant, the actual private school student enrollment in Texas is only 301,967 students, while public school enrollment was 5,359,127 students, during the 2016/17 academic term.