Op-ed: ‘If you choose not to vaccinate your child, then I should know who you are’

Mike Drago, the Dallas Morning News’s commentary editor, published an opinion piece this Friday where he proposed that people should know which parents in their midst choose not to vaccinate their children.

Mike Drago, the Dallas Morning News’s commentary editor, published an opinion piece this Friday where he proposed that people should know which parents in their midst choose not to vaccinate their children.

Drago’s response was prompted by a measles outbreak at Schell Elementary in Plano, TX. The outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child who recently traveled internationally. Schell took six days to announce the outbreak to parents as the school was waiting for the results to come back,

Although Drago was disturbed by the school’s failure to announce a potential outbreak, he was most frustrated by the state continuing to protect the nearly 2 percent of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Drago asked state legislators to do something about it:

And it’s not so much the frustrating-but-old-hat fact that a percentage of parents (1.6 percent, or 871 students in Plano; 2 percent in my district) are given “conscientious exemptions” from vaccinations. (Important note: We don’t know all the circumstances in the Schell case or why that family made its choice, and I won’t speculate.)

No, the thing that really bothers me is that the state protects the freedom of anti-vaxxers to refuse health-saving shots — for any reason or for no reason at all — while leaving the rest of our kids vulnerable and parents in the dark.


If parents should have the liberty to decline routine vaccinations for their kids, why don’t I deserve to know my kid might be sitting next to an unvaccinated child at lunch or PE class?

I understand that any number of federal privacy restrictions (FERPA, HIPAA) might tie school officials’ hands in this matter… But why is my kid’s health your third consideration?

Dallas County Representative Jason Villalba doesn’t think that Drago’s proposal is that outlandish. Villalba previously supported legislation that would make it harder for parents to get a vaccination exemption for their children, but the bill failed.  Villalba said he is planning on proposing a bill similar to Drago’s proposal if his initial bill passes when it is reintroduced.

“It is time for common sense to prevail in this debate.  It is simply unconscionable that in a society as scientifically advanced as ours, that there are children who remain unprotected from diseases that have been eradicated for decades. At a minimum, those parents who send their children to public schools are entitled to know to what degree their children are exposed to unvaccinated populations within the school.”

Drago concluded his piece by acknowledging that there are a small number of medical reasons to not vaccinate a child. However, he also called for parents to take responsibility and vaccinate their children. If not, other parents should know which children may potentially carry diseases.

Featured image via portside.org



  1. Avatar

    Barbara Abu-Odeh

    January 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    damn straight, and if another child dies the parents should be charged with murder

  2. Avatar


    January 24, 2016 at 7:45 am

    If your child is vaccinated, and presumably protected from disease, why do you care if another’s kid is vaccinated or not?

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    Simon Peters

    January 24, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Well said, ed.

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    January 24, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I would suggest that children who are recently vaccinated and shedding virus should be known

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    January 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I’m right here bozo! My kid is the one sitting next to yours. The one that cannot give your child a disease he doesn’t have. He also can keep up with his work without ADD meds, nor is he autistic, or going into anaphylaxis from a peanut allergy, or itching from sever eczema or lashing out at the teacher or being dismissed early to go to the doctors for chronic ear infections.

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    January 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    How does logic completely escape you? Somewhere between 60%-85%+ of everyone above school age in this country are just as UNVACCINATED as any kid who never received a vaccination (any temporary immunity from disease alleged to be provided by vaccinations wears off in as little as 2-7 years). So, why aren’t the 18+ group dropping dead in droves from communicable diseases? Further, unless you have your, or your children’s, titers run after receiving vaccinations, you actually have NO PROOF whatsoever that you, or they, ever acquired any temporary immunity from them, either. You are taking the word of people who make a shitload of money based on what?….Oh yeah, their ability to get you to take their word.

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    January 24, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Or you can fu** RIGHT OFF. Measles made a comeback from people SHEDDING THE LIVE VIRUS. Deal with it.

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    January 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Yeah, Why do you pro vaxx care is someone’s child is non vaccinated if yours is vaccinated. Then you don’t really believe in the vaccine. Nuts!

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    Not drinking the Kool-Aid

    January 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    This is hilarious. Please put a sign around your measles infected, live-virus carrying, recently vaccinated child for six weeks after you’ve just injected them please. Keep those unvaccinated nice and safe. Goes both ways. You ‘journalists ( and I use the term lightly) should be critical thinkers not fear mongers. Thank you very much.

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    January 24, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Does anyone realize that they give hep vax to babies. Hep is transferred by sex and needles. Um what is your newborn doing that could cause them to be at risk from this disease? Why is the government so adamant abut this when there are so many deaths and debilitations caused by some of these vaccinations. Why does Vaers exist, That is only one of the agencies that deals with Vaccine adverse effects, there are several. All you people letting your kids be shot up with all sorts of lovely things should do some research on SIDS Autism and other reactions to vaccines. What if you are wrong and your child dies of sids, How will you feel then. I do my research I don’t just believe what I am told I refuse to be a sheeple. If you blindly trust the rich you will be taken in by their power to manipulate you. And believe me it is not the medical community pushing vax, it is big pharm with big pockets to line

  11. Avatar

    Cheryl Marlow (@werblessed1s)

    January 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Yes, I want to know where your vaccine shedding children are so child can be safe.

  12. Avatar

    Cheryl Marlow (@werblessed1s)

    January 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    *my child can be safe

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    January 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    This isn’t North Korea no one needs big brother keeping lists of people to send to the firing squad for big pharma and their corporate owed Scientists and Doctors who just want to get that vacation house in Switzerland. You know like the lists Nazis had.

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    January 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    But if u r vaccinated why wud u b scared of an unvaccinated person…if the vaccine works? Makes NO sense!

  15. Avatar


    January 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm


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    January 24, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Because there’s something called “herd immunity,” and we all depend on it for the health of the community as a whole. There are children too young to have been vaccinated yet; if your kid is unvaccinated and a carrier of a disease, it can be passed to my kid at the lunch table at school and within a day back to an infant at home, who could die from it.

    (Warning – there’s a picture, at the below link, of a toddler who was the victim of just this kind of thing – it’s hard to look at.)


    Additionally, there are people who cannot be vaccinated against certain diseases, because of their own health issues; elderly people sometimes cannot tolerate certain vaccines, or people with autoimmune syndromes. We need to eradicate the presence of these diseases, and it shouldn’t be up to one individual whether we are all exposed to something that can affect, or even take away, the remainder of our lives.

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    Connie Lagle DÂûgherty

    January 25, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Dear Mike Drago and Andrew Wertz,

    1) Why do you NOT ask to know the name of every student that has AIDS, or every student that has Hepatitis A, B, or C (REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS)? AND, Why do you NOT ask to know the name of every student whom has received a vaccination within the past 6-12 weeks and every child who gets a new vaccination every time they get one. I mean, shouldn’t you have the right to know WHICH kids might be shedding an active virus vaccine so you can keep YOUR child at home to prevent exposure. And do you inform ALL the OTHER parents EVERY time YOUR child gets a new vaccine?

    2) If you are concerned about YOUR child’s potential exposure, why? Isn’t YOUR OWN child ALREADY vaccinated? If so, then you have NOTHING to worry about right? Because YOUR child IS ALREADY protected. In which case, you don’t NEED to know whom is NOT VACCINATED, because YOUR child is NOT at risk. RIGHT?


    3) Are you actually afraid that YOUR child REALLY IS NOT protected. Or are you going to claim you are actually more concerned about OTHER peoples children. If THAT is what you are going to claim. Well then, let THOSE parents give a valid explanation of why THEY need to know the identities of vaccine free kids.

    4)You DO KNOW that there is no such thing as a LIVE or DEAD virus… RIGHT?

    You DO KNOW that viruses are NOT living organisms RIGHT?

    You DO KNOW that viruses can ONLY be considered active or dormant, RIGHT?
    And you DO KNOW that even inactivated/dormant viruses CAN become ACTIVE again once injected into a dark, warm, moist environment (such as the human body) RIGHT?

    Perhaps YOU need to educate yourself before going off on a rant about something of which you TRULY know NOTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE.

  18. Avatar

    Terre Foreman

    January 25, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Because a child or adult who has a compromised immune system for one reason or another is vulnerable. Children under the age of vaccination are vulnerable. That’s why!!!!!!!!

  19. Avatar

    Dr Paris

    January 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I am completely confused. Why does a parent of a vaccinated child care whether there is an unvaccinated child nearby? Aren’t they assuming they are protected? And if they are not, then why vaccinate at all? Actually, the school should notify the parents of unvaccinated children if there is any contagion in their midst.

  20. Avatar


    January 25, 2016 at 10:38 am


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    January 31, 2016 at 8:18 am

    First of all, if your kid is vaccinated, why does an UN-vaccinated child scare you?? I mean, if vaccines work so well, your kid is protected. Unless, you truly do not believe that are effective. Secondly, there is no such thing as herd immunity. The theory of herd immunity is based on naturally acquired immunity (you know actually getting the disease) and not vaccination. Thirdly, from VAERS database (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) data from 2010-2015: # of deaths from Measles – 0; # of reported MMR vaccine injuries – 3,341; # of MMR DEATHS reported – 158. These numbers are a gross under estimate of the injuries and deaths, the Federal Gov’t states that less than 10% of injuries are even report to VAERS.

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