Texas pediatricians concerned about falling vaccination rates as children return to school

Some of Texas's top pediatricians and healthcare experts are concerned about the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

60,000 kindergartners are behind on their immunizations going into the school year, according to data gathered by the non-profits Immunization Partnership and Children at Risk.

Another 85,000 won't get vaccinated due to parents who obtained a "conscientious exemption".


From: Texas Health and Human Services

"I'm really regretful that we're seeing more and more indicators of more instances of diseases that should have been relegated to the trash pile of history if we had stayed on track with vaccinating," said Dr. Jason Terk from Cook Children's Pediatrics.

Doctors say measles is making a comeback.

Nationwide, there were more than 1,000 confirmed cases of measles in 2019. That is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1992.

RELATED: As people work to stop the spread of COVID-19, North Texas doctors warn of possible measles outbreak

Last month, a case of polio was reported in New York. It is the first such case in the U.S. in nearly a decade.

Medical experts say vaccination rates are still above 90 percent, but began on a downward trend following the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 43 percent of parents with children under 5 say they will "definitely not" get them vaccinated.

Last week, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, admitted the agency made dramatic mistakes with communications, data and testing during the pandemic that hurt public confidence.

Terri Burke, the executive director of Immunization Partnership, say a small but vocal group is spreading misinformation and disinformation about the safety of vaccines for children.

Burke believes the group plans to lobby state lawmakers to pass a slate of anti-vaccination bills during January's legislative session.

"They're organizing to block the use of any vaccine in Texas that is less than 5 years of use from FDA approval.," she said. "It really is a dark place to think about if we walk down the path."