Border & Immigration
2:08 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

State Health Official Says No Cause For Alarm Regarding Immunization For Migrant Children

A border detention facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
A border detention facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
Credit David Martin Davies / TPR News

The head of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission told a select committee of state lawmakers he is not as concerned about the spread of disease related to unaccompanied minors coming into the state from Central America.  

One of the state’s roles in these children’s lives has to do with screening the children who are headed to group homes or foster care.

Texas HHS Executive Director Dr. Kyle Janek said they screen these children because of the possibility of them being integrated in the Texas school system.

“Those countries from which those kiddos come have pretty good immunization rates," Janek said. "They approach 93%-95% for DTP, measles, mumps and rubella, polio (but) not routinely chicken pox and that’s why we have to be vigilant.”

Janek said the state’s vaccine supply is strong and even with the influx of kids there is no indication that there will be any impact on their availability.

“We have no indication right now that this would have any impact on availability of vaccines," he said. "I know there has been some calls from school districts wondering what’s the vaccine supply, there is no indication that we’re going to run short.”

Janek told members of the committee that his only gripe is that federal officials are not providing his department with any details regarding how many of these children will remain in Texas and what part of the state they will be housed.