Anti-vaxxers make inroads in Texas

Bear County, Texas District Attorney Nico LaHood received public backlash after releasing an 11-minute video claiming that vaccines cause autism. According to Texas Public Radio, he and his wife Davida claimed that their two oldest sons contracted autism after being vaccinated at 18 months old.

Upon making this announcement, he almost immediately received criticism on his Facebook page. Health professionals also weighed in condemning his remarks fearing that LaHood’s statement would be an excuse for parents would use to not vaccinate their children.

In recent years, Texas has seen an increase in the amount of people applying for exemptions from vaccinating their kids. Consequently, the state is experiencing an increase in diseases that vaccines are made to immunize people from. As Texas Monthly points out:

In 2001, Texas had 615 confirmed cases of whooping cough. From 2005 to 2015, Texas averaged nearly 2,400 cases per year (since peaking at 3,985 whooping cough cases in 2013, that figure decreased each of the past two years; 2015 had 1,504 cases). And 38 total cases of measles were reported between 2013 and 2015 in Texas, including a 2013 outbreak infecting 21 people who attended a vaccine-skeptical megachurch outside of Dallas. Texas had already recorded its first measles case of the year just a few weeks into 2016 when a Plano ISD student was infected with the virus in January, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Last year, anti-vaccine groups funded research in hopes of finding a link to vaccines. In the end they were proven wrong. As I have pointed out before, Emory University historian Dr. Elena Conis points out in a Los Angeles Times commentary, the anti-vaccine movement is an outgrowth of the environmentalist movement. The efforts of anti-vaccine activists are an extension of the green movement’s holy war (i.e. jihad) to eradicate human life from the face of the Earth. One wonders how Nico LaHood (who is a Republican) would feel if he fond out he was giving momentum to an environmentalist-backed effort.