MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Some suburban school districts are reporting a growing number of parents choosing not to get their children vaccinated.
Collin County now has more than double the state average when it comes to exemptions.
Jeanmarie Beno showed CBS11 the paperwork she filled out to get an exemption from mandatory vaccinations for her children at Plano ISD. She’s part of a growing wave of parents asking to opt out, not for medical or religious reasons but because they object the idea.
“I’m not anti-vaccine, but I think there are too many,” Beno said.
Beno is convinced a vaccination had negative medical side effects for her son. She realizes it’s a controversial issue, so she’s glad she doesn’t have to argue the science in order to opt out.
“I think every parent should have 100 percent control over what goes into their child’s body, period,” Beno said.
But public health officials worry the growing trend will increase the likelihood of an outbreak of the diseases the vaccines can prevent.
Some Collin County parents like Frisco’s Jennifer Calyer say the decline in vaccination rates could divide communities.
“If it were to continue on an upward scale, then yes, I think I would think twice about bringing my daughter to the large city Easter egg hunt,” Calyer said.
Calyer insists she respects parental choice, but not at the expense of other children.
“It’s up to them what they want to do with their kids. At some point though, if their kids are going to go to a larger school or an ISD, they’re going to need to be prepared,” Calyer said.
Vaccinations are readily available at the Collin County Health Department, but a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services said availability has not been a factor in the trend, so as a result the agency will continue to advocate for vaccinations with the hope of reversing the shift.