Possible Immunization Education

Vaccines, some people hate, while others love them.

"My kids had them, my grandkids have had them, we've never had issues," commented Linda Favor, an Abilene resident.

Regardless of how you may feel about immunizations, the Taylor County Public Health District is pushing to pair education of the subject with sex education in public schools.

"In addition to sex education, I thought it was important to have some public health issues involved in this," commented Dr. Peter Norton, medical authority for the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District.

According to Dr. Norton the most pressing medical issue in Texas today is the immunization of our children.

"We would like them to know the importance of immunizations, the history of immunizations, and what immunizations have done for certain diseases," he went on.

Again according to Dr. Norton, the immunization of children is something that is, "Resisted by certain parties." This could pose a challenge to the educational pairing. However, others are in full support.

"I think it would be wonderful, because then they wouldn't be so scared of them," commented Favor.

Now each year the Texas Department of State Health Services surveys each accredited school in Texas regarding who does and does not receive vaccinations.

This year, of the over 2,200 surveyed, 88% completed the report. Those schools reported that under 53,000,  just .97%, of students K-12 requested exemptions from vaccinations.

In addition, across the board coverage decreased minutely for kindergartners while increasing for 7th graders this year over last.

Here in Abilene, Dr. Norton hopes this class will halt any further decrease in immunization coverage.

"Hopefully this will happen in the next one or two years,"he finished.

According to AISD, due to "Concerns raised regarding the implementation of health at middle school[s]," a committee was formed to make a recommendation to the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). AISD continued with, "While vaccinations were not specifically addressed within the SHAC’s recommendation, the SHAC did recommend that health education... in AISD be addressed and improved upon to ensure that all students receive instruction in health as specified," by state guidelines. 

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