State Board Could Remove Vaccine Education From Public Schools
By David Doolittle


Anti-vaccine groups having been pushing for amendments that would weaken, delete, or make optional all mention of immunizations in new Texas health education curriculum standards for elementary and middle-school students. 

The State Board of Education (SBOE) is expected to take a final vote either Tuesday night or Wednesday on the health curriculum standards taught to public school students throughout Texas. 

Thanks to an organized push from Texas Medical Association members in September, harmful amendments to the revised Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for health education were defeated when they were initially introduced. 

There is still time to tell your state education board member to reject any amendments to the immunization language in the draft Health Education TEKS, and to ensure future generations of Texas children are informed on the importance of vaccines to overall health. 

Find contact information for your state education board member on the SBOE website.   

TEKS are the state standards for knowledge and skills every Texas public school student must demonstrate before advancing to the next grade or graduating. 

The current draft TEKS include education on the importance of vaccines in preventing the spread of infectious diseases in kindergarten, first, second, third, and sixth grades. 

In addition, middle school students will be expected to “identify the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing the transmission of HPV (human papillomavirus), a virus that may cause genital warts and head, neck, cervical, anal, or other cancers in males and females.” 

After an 18-month revision process, Texas is nearly finished overhauling its health education curriculum standards for the first time since 1997. With support from leading medical and education experts, including TMA and Texas Pediatric Society, the current draft received preliminary approval from the education board in September.

Last Updated On

November 17, 2020

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David Doolittle


(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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