WSFA/NBC - Kids are preparing to head back to school and many states require children to have up-to-date vaccines. However, the government also allows you to opt out for reasons of conscience, but some experts say this leaves your kids open to deadly diseases.
Baylor College of Medicine says if your child has no medical reason to avoid vaccines, it's a bad idea.
"We're going to see a return of serious and sometimes even deadly childhood infectious diseases," Dr. Peter Hotez said.
Hotez said the most vulnerable children aren't even school age yet but can still be exposed to the illness. Hotez says babies under one year old could die from illnesses like measles.
"So we're in a very dangerous situation where we can start seeing measles outbreaks at any time," said Hotez.
With Texas ranking among states with the lowest vaccination rates, it's clear there is a growing distrust among the public.
The skepticism about vaccines tends to go hand-in-hand with the rise in autism. Many people claiming there is a correlation between autism and vaccines, a theory that has actually been proven false in scientific studies and one Hotez himself guarantees cannot happen.
"We've learned so much now about what autism really is and how it begins prenatally, well before kids are ever vaccinated," he said.
Autism happens to connect two of the things he's most passionate about. His work as a scientist and as a dad.
His daughter Rachel has autism and he's never been more dedicated to spreading this message.
"Just like a child has a right to be, if they're in a car, to be in a car seat or a safety belt. They have a fundamental right to be protected against deadly diseases by being vaccinated. it's not a choice, it's a requirement as a parent." Hotez said.
Eighteen states currently allow exemptions from vaccines including Alabama.