Health officials urge children to get vaccinated before school begins

There is an important reminder for parents who have kids heading back to school.

Measles was pervasive in 1958, when the rare viral infection peaked with 85,862 people infected in Texas alone. While a small percentage of Americans maintain that vaccinating their children is unimportant, the Texas Department of State Health Services has research that shows measles cases have decreased 99.9-percent in the Lone Star State since the introduction of vaccines.

But, doctors said the continued prevention of measles requires vigilance against the highly-contagious infection. According to the state, unvaccinated Texas communities are at the greatest risk for infection. In 2013, someone traveling to Asia returned to Texas with measles and infected 20 additional Texans in a matter of weeks, according to health officials.

Today, if students are not properly vaccinated, they can be prevented from attending class.

"If they are not up to date state law actually allows school districts to hold them out of school until they have been brought up to date or until they can show they have started the required series and we just monitor that and send them back as needed to complete the series of vaccinations," Midway ISD Lead Nurse Dee Ann Kleypas said.

Texas law offers, however, a number of exemptions to the vaccine requirements -- including medical and religious exemptions. Read more about the rules and exemptions here.

As the school year approaches, parents can expect longer wait times at free clinics that offer vaccinations and operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. For parents of incoming college students, Texas colleges and universities require vaccinations against infections like meningitis. Consult your student's college for details.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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