The state of Texas has one of the largest anti-vaccine groups in the nation and they’re not happy about Governor Greg Abbott’s declaration of a state-wide emergency in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.
“If they fast-track some vaccine for coronavirus, how are all of us going to defend ourselves?” a woman named Sarah posted in a local anti-vaccine Facebook group. “I’ll let them vaccinate my daughter over my dead body.”
According to TexasMonthly, the growing health crisis has anti-vaxxers in the state spreading rumors about impending “forced” vaccination programs, which is a common theme in anti-vaxxer rhetoric.
“This school year, nearly 73,000, or 1.35 percent, of Texas students opted out of getting at least one required vaccine for nonmedical reasons, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services,” TexasMonthly reports. “That number does not include home schooled children.”
In 2003, the Texas State Legislature passed a law that allows families to opt out of vaccinations by claiming “reasons of conscience, including religious belief.” But according to Allison Winnike, who is the president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, Texas has the authority to make an eventual coronavirus vaccine mandatory — “mandatory,” meaning that there will be penalties for not complying, not “forced,” as anti-vaxxers like to claim.
Whether or not the anti-vaccine community will be a hindrance in the state’s efforts at tackling the outbreak remains to be seen.
Read the full report over at TexasMonthly.