Texas health authorities are proposing to remove the ‘vaccine-free,’ ‘dISEASE-FREE,’ ‘sick’ and ‘non-compliant’ labels from its health department’s website, as part of efforts to make it easier for people to obtain vaccinations.
In a statement on Tuesday, Texas Health and Human Services said that the department will begin to allow people to search for the ‘Disease Free’ or ‘Health Compliant’ tags on its website by using search terms such as ‘pregnant woman,’ ‘pregnancy’ or the phrase ‘pandemic.’
The move comes after Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott (R) in January ordered that the state’s health department stop using the term ‘vaccination free,’ citing the ‘growing pandemic threat of pandemic-caused illness.’
In the statement, which was obtained by The Hill, Texas health administrators said the term is “not an accurate description of the medical condition” that people with certain conditions face.
“We have seen that the term can be misleading, confusing and can lead to the misunderstanding that some people with illnesses are exempt from vaccinations,” the statement said.
“In recent months, we have seen the use of this term by some people, including those with HIV, HIV positive individuals, and others who are concerned about their health.
We have also seen its use by health care professionals, many of whom have used the term to describe a condition, such as autism spectrum disorder, that is not covered by a vaccine.
The term ‘dismissable’ or a more accurate term, ‘noncompliant,’ is a more comprehensive description of a condition.”
While the department has previously removed the term from its website, the department said the move is to provide consumers with information about health care providers that may be required to provide vaccinations.
While the term vaccine free does not require proof of vaccination, it can be helpful for consumers to see if a health care provider is vaccinating them, the statement continued.
“For example, if a provider refuses to administer a vaccine, consumers can check the provider’s record for the year they are receiving their vaccination.
This information is then used to determine if the provider is a vaccine-free provider or is a non-vaccine provider,” the department continued.
The statement did not provide any specific information about how the department plans to update its website.
In November, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) began using a new tag on its websites that indicates that certain conditions and vaccines are not covered under the state.
In that instance, the agency said that it would not be using the phrase vaccine- or vaccine-contraindicated.
The tag has since been replaced by the more accurate ‘deteriorating condition’ tag, but officials are still using it as a tool for people seeking information about conditions.
In addition to the tag, the new website includes a page where consumers can type in the condition they are seeking information on and then click ‘Submit a Request for Information’ to find a health provider they can ask questions about.
The department is also working on a separate tag that states that vaccines are safe and effective for everyone, including the elderly and children.
The department said it has not yet decided how it will update the website.
While some states are now requiring vaccination requirements for people who do not have HIV, the Obama administration has not required that they also mandate vaccination requirements in those states.