On November 17, 2022, Governor Abbott wrote to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and superintendents reminding them that, in Texas, parents get to choose what is best for the health and well-being of their children, and as such, school districts must accept vaccine exemptions and cannot require the COVID vaccine as a requirement for admission.
We want to thank Governor Abbott for his leadership in taking steps to ensure that, despite the recent recommendation from the CDC, the questionable COVID vaccine is not going to be a requirement for enrollment in Texas schools.
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) should take note of the governor’s sentiment and take steps to ensure the COVID vaccine is not added to the required Texas childhood immunizations. Also, as a public health service, DSHS should inform the public of the true risks and benefits of the experimental COVID vaccines. This public health service should include, at a minimum, accurate information on all possible adverse reactions, including the possible long-term impacts on the immune system, an increased risk of heart, liver, and kidney diseases, unknown effects on fertility, and increased cancer risks.
The TEA should use this opportunity to take positive action to remind school districts that they do not have the authority to require the COVID vaccine and that they must accept vaccine exemptions as required by law.
Vaccine exemption affidavits can be easily requested through the DSHS website. After filling out the request form, the affidavits will be mailed by DSHS to the recipient. Once received, the form must be notarized before being submitted to the school or daycare facility.
While the governor’s actions are a good start, we must see legislation this upcoming session that will take this recommendation and make it law. No experimental, untested, or highly contentious vaccine should ever be mandated for school enrollment.