Appearing to be speaking from his office and in a formal, impassioned manner, Brexar County Texas District Attorney, Nico LaHood, warned residents of the effects of vaccines.
“I’m Nico LaHood,” he said to the camera. “I’m the criminal district attorney in San Antonio, Texas. I’m here to tell you that vaccines can and do cause autism.”
LaHood’s statements quickly came under fire by some, but were also applauded by many in a state where vaccinations are coming more and more under fire. LaHood responded to the outcry regarding his statements with a response of his own via his Facebook page: “Educate yourselves for the sake of your precious children,” and to “stay away from rhetoric and look at hard facts.”
San Antonio’s Public Health Department criticised the District Attorney, saying “Vaccinations are not just for protecting ourselves—they also protect the people around us,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. “Children cannot make the decision on getting vaccinated but informed parents can.”
No matter how you spin it, sentiment in Texas is simply not falling in line with vaccine rhetoric. Opt outs are up severely: Last year, vaccine medical opt-outs statewide were at 45,000, which is 3,000 more than the year before. When you consider the heavy vaccine outreach programs nationwide, that’s a depressing number if you are county, state or national health officials. Expect further pushes for stricter mandatory vaccine laws in a state that condemns any government meddling. In other words, it won’t be easy to remove exemptions in a state that cherishes parental and personal rights.