TIP Talk!

Friday September 23, 2016

Texas Mom: Parents Have the Right to Know the Health of Schools


Sara Farmer wanted what any parent wants—a safe place to send her daughter to school. But that would have been more complicated for Lucy than for most children. Lucy was waiting for a heart donor when she died at age 15 months. 

If Lucy had lived long enough to receive a transplant, the drugs to prevent organ rejection also would have made vaccinations impossible for her—and at the same time, with her immune system suppressed, she would have been more vulnerable to catching diseases.

In a heartfelt column in the Houston Chronicle, Farmer speaks out for Texas parents whose vulnerable children are still alive and in need of protection. She calls on the Texas State Legislature to pass a much-needed law around vaccinations.

The law that Farmer argues for wouldn’t intrude on anyone’s privacy or rights. It would simply require the state to provide the data—not names, not identities—on what percentage of children at each school has been vaccinated. Then parents could pick a school where herd immunity is most likely to protect their children.

Texas publishes all kinds of information about individual schools—their dropout rates, their test scores and so forth. Farmer knows that there is data even more important than educational attainment, because it revolves around students’ health. How likely are they to be protected from preventable diseases? Parents have a right to know, and no one understands that better than Sara Farmer. 

Parents need to know schools' vaccination rates 

By Sara Farmer

My daughter didn't die because of a disease contracted from an unvaccinated child. Dilated cardiomyopathy took her from us at only 15 months, while she waited for a new heart. During that wait, she couldn't receive live vaccines, such as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. That situation would not change due to transplant or the passage of time. The prospect of transplant and the accompanying medications that suppress the immune system made her medically ineligible for live vaccines. She relied on the rest of us to keep her safe by being vaccinated. Her brother and sister and parents. Our neighbors. Their children. Your children.

Read the full article in the Houston Chronicle.



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