Is anti-vax movement contagious?

A graph shows the 2017-2018 Texas annual report of immunization status for Utopia ISD, Sabinal ISD, Uvalde CISD, and Knippa ISD. (Uvalde Leader-News graph by Melissa Federspill.)

Local numbers on rise

Melissa Federspill

Staff Writer

The number of students in Uvalde County who are unvaccinated due to conscientious exemptions is on the rise, according to data from Texas Health and Human Services.

Since the 2011-2012 school year, the Texas Annual Report of Immunization Status for all grade levels at public and private schools for all of Uvalde County indicates a marked annual increase.

The percentage of students in public and private schools in all grades has surged from 0.20 percent in 2011-2012 to 0.68 percent in 2017-2018.

Uvalde County is home to four school districts. For each of the respective districts, the number of conscientious exemptions filed at the district level for the 2017-18 school year varies greatly.

For Utopia Independent School District, 9.29 percent of the 238-member student body is exempt; at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, 0.25 percent of the enrolled 4,457 is exempt; Knippa ISD, 1.43 percent of the 455 member student body is exempt; and Sabinal ISD, 0 percent of the 467 students at that campus is exempt.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, “to claim an exclusion for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs, the child’s parent, legal guardian or a student 18 years of age or older must present to the school or child-care facility a completed, signed, and notarized affidavit on a form provided by the department stating that the child’s parent, legal guardian or the student declines vaccinations for reasons of conscience, including: “because of the person’s religious beliefs.” The affidavit is good for two years.

The 2017-2018 Texas Annual Report of Immunization Status, identifies conscientious exemptions filed at the district level for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

mfederspill@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335

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