Whether it’s Washington D.C. or Austin, policymakers are placing the health of our children at risk from a rise of infectious diseases. Cuts to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), and the passage of HB 2292 in 2003, which allowed Texans to opt out of vaccination for non-medical reasons has led to Texas now being ranked 47th in vaccination rates.

As vaccination rates drop, so does the health of Texans.

Diseases once all but controlled are seeing a resurgence in the Lone Star State.

The 2017-18 flu season was called “the worst outbreak in years” with 172 children dying from flu-related illnesses. The CDC reports 80 percent of the children who died from the flu did not receive the flu vaccine. But it’s not just the flu.

There have been multiple measles outbreaks across Texas, including an outbreak in Ellis County in January, a flight leaving Dallas earlier this month, and another at Plano West High School causing the school district to ask anti-vaccinated children to stay home their first two weeks of school. Mumps have also been on the rise, with reports of 221 cases in 2017.

All of these illnesses could have been prevented by vaccines. Preventable diseases will continue to rise throughout the state, if policymakers continue to risk public health in exchange for special interest contributions.

The anti-vaccination lobby has endorsed and contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of incumbent legislators and candidates. In exchange, legislators have sponsored and voted for legislation to limit access to vaccines.

For example, despite the 56 percent decrease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) since the HPV vaccine was introduced, the Legislature voted in favor of HB 1098 to override the requirement of the HPV vaccine being administered to school children.

Jonathan Boos, a candidate running for Texas House District 113 in Dallas County, is one of the more recent converts to the anti-vaccine cause. Instead of safeguarding the health of Texans, Boos has ignored the proven benefits of vaccinations. He’s received an endorsement and contribution to his campaign from the anti-science group. Not only did he accept the contribution from them, but Boos himself has also given money to the anti-science group.

As Reform Austin previously reported, when a concerned individual addressed him on his stance on vaccines, Jonathan Boos doubled down on his irresponsible position.

If incumbents and candidates continue to put themselves up for sale, the health of Texans will take a back seat to special interest cash. We need to Reform Austin.