Growing number of Williamson Co. parents say no to vaccines

More and more families in Williamson Co. reject vaccinations for their children (KXAN Photo)
More and more families in Williamson Co. reject vaccinations for their children (KXAN Photo)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (KXAN) — We’re all susceptible to getting sick, but not everyone agrees on how to protect people against diseases.

Thursday, doctors in Williamson County gathered to show exactly where they land on this issue, as more parents say “no” to vaccinating their children.

Catherine Getz doesn’t believe she needs a vaccine to keep her kids healthy. “The little guy hasn’t really had anything at all yet and he’s completely unvaccinated,” she said.

Getz is one of a growing number of parents who are choosing not to get their children vaccinated.

In Williamson County, non-medical vaccine exemptions, which mean you don’t want a vaccine because of religious or philosophical reasons, have increased by 76 percent over the past five years.

INCREASES IN EXEMPTIONS

  • In Williamson County, non-medical vaccine exemptions have increased 76 percent over the past five years.
  • Last school year in Travis County, more than 3,500 students were opted out of school vaccine requirements, an 84 percent increase.
  • Bastrop County has seen an increase of 105 percent, and Blanco County has seen a 150 percent increase over the past five years.

Parents of more than 2,400 students have filed vaccine exemptions in the county. Not everyone thinks that’s wise.

“Not vaccinating our children is essentially putting them at risk for potentially life-threatening diseases, as well as putting the public at risk for these diseases,” Dr. Erich Sturgis said.

Vaccines protect against diseases and they have few side effects, Sturgis said. However, Getz says her youngest daughter experienced one.

“The doctor took one look at her diaper and said she’s just reacted to rotavirus, I would not give her that vaccine again.” That’s when she decided to quit vaccinating her children.

It’s not just students in Williamson County not getting vaccinated. Last school year, more than 3,500 students in Travis County were opted out of school vaccine requirements.

That’s an 84 percent increase from the 2010-2011 school year.

Bastrop County has seen an increase of 105 percent, while Blanco County has also seen an increase of 150 percent over the last five years.

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