TYLER, Texas — Dr. Danny Price is a pediatrician at St. Paul Children's Clinic in Tyler. He's worked in the position for 23 years.
Dr. Price has seen vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps firsthand while doing mission work in Kenya.
"The village leaders would have the parents line up for blocks for our arrival," Dr. Price said. "They didn’t understand these diseases, but these tribal leaders understood that when the clinic workers showed up, their babies lived instead of died. And I loved seeing the wisdom of these village leaders getting their children vaccinated.”
Dr. Price says that same wisdom should be practiced widespread, but that is not the case.
An increasing number of parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children due to various reasons.
"There’s confusion about vaccines these days, and I think we’ve lost a little bit of the big picture," Dr. Price explained.
Dallas-based pediatrician, Dr. Albert Karam refueled the vaccination debate on social media this week after sharing his office policy of not scheduling office visits for non-vaccinated children.
Karam, who was diagnosed with measles as a child in the 1960's, has seen firsthand how immunizations virtually eradicated the disease.
"The number one thing that has saved babies and children's lives across the world has been vaccinations," Dr. Price said. "More than antibiotics, penicillin, any thing else like that, vaccines have saved lives."
Price says his office enforces the same policy as Karam's.
"At St. Paul, we definitely have an agreement with our patients that if you have a baby under 12 months, you don't have to worry because we are not going to allow non-vaccinated kids into our waiting room who are going to pass these diseases onto them," Dr. Price said.
One parent who is thankful of that is Heather Boswell. She's the mother of a three-year-old and two-month-old.
"I wouldn't want him coming into an environment where he could get measles, chicken pox or anything else," Boswell said. "Because he shouldn't have to suffer because someone else decided not to vaccinate their kids."
Texas law allows:
- Physicians to write medical exemption statements that the vaccine(s) required would be medically harmful or injurious to the health and well-being of the child or household member
- Parents/guardians to choose an exemption from immunization requirements for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. The law does not allow parents to elect an exemption simply because of inconvenience.
Read more: Texas Minimum Vaccine Requirements
"I can respect it," Boswell said. "It's your child. It's your rules. It's just like anything else. I'm not going to tell anybody how to raise their kid, but I don't want my kid to get harmed because someone chose not to do something for theirs."