Measles Outbreak: State Requirements on the Measles Vaccination

Measles Outbreak: State Requirements on the Measles Vaccination

Zora Asberry
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - There has been debate over making measles vaccinations a requirement after a nationwide outbreak. Several people choose to not get one.

NewsWest 9 spoke with health officials to find out why getting the vaccine may be an important choice.

"For children it is just highly recommended because a lot of pediatricians won't even accept a patient if they're not going to do vaccines," Community Nurse Navigator, Lindsey Chavez with Medical Center Hospital, said.

48 states allow religious exemptions, the other two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, have the strictest requirements only allowing medical exemptions.

"It is a state by state basis as to what kind of exemptions they will allow for schooling. Texas, along with a lot of other states, is one that allows conscious exemption to anyone who doesn't want to give their child a vaccine, it doesn't have to be a medical exemption, they can just get an affidavit a say they don't want to get it and they don't have to," Chavez said.

For those on either side of the debate, health officials believe it is always important to ask questions about potential risk.

"Always question and always talk to your doctor about your risk, because there are always risks with any kind of medical intervention whether it be taking medication, getting a medical procedure or vaccines. Everyone needs to consider their individual risk," Public Health Manager and Epidemiologist, Amanda Robinson-Chadwell with the Ector County Health Department, said.

It is also important to consider the well-being of others when deciding whether or not to get the vaccination.

"There are people in the community who can't get the vaccine for medical reasons, if they have a weakened immune system, or they're allergic to the vaccine. They don't have a choice and by those parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids, they're putting other kids at risk for getting the disease," Chavez said.

For adults, even if you were vaccinated as a child or young adult, it is important to consider getting a booster shot.

"They (diseases) evolve, I know people think that's a very scary word, but it's true, they can change over time. We see that with flu every year. So it is often very important to make sure that your immunity isn't compromised," Robinson-Chadwell said.

For general information about the measles, signs, symptoms and the vaccination, you can visit the CDC website at For information on how to get the vaccine in Ector County, you can contact Medical Center Hospital at 432-640-6000.