With fall upon us and kids preparing to head back to school, now is the perfect opportunity to remind parents of the importance of getting their children immunized. That was the focus of a press conference held on August 20, 2015, by the Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Data released in 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Michigan has the 4th highest non-medical exemption rate in the nation, with 5.9% of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children against preventable, potentially deadly diseases. This puts the state at risk for outbreaks of infectious diseases like diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and more.
Last year the state approved a change to Michigan’s childhood immunization standards requiring parents of school-aged children who seek a non-medical exemption to the immunization requirements to have their waiver certified by their local health department.
Dr. Pamela Rockwell of Ann Arbor represented the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians during the press conference.
“Michigan physicians are committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents, and the new rule is helping ensure that those parents who choose to sign a waiver have accurate information and education regarding the risks of not vaccinating and the benefits gained to the individual and the community through vaccination,” said Dr. Rockwell.
The new rule does not affect the current process by which health care providers complete the medical waiver.
For more information about the immunization waiver and to access the waiver form, visit www.michigan.gov/immunize (click on Local Health Departments > Immunization Waiver Information).
State Health Officials Offer Reasons for Back-to-school Vaccines (Midland Daily News)
Our View - Back to School: Make Immunizations a Top Priority (Midland Daily News)
Health Officials Urge Parents to Vaccinate Kids (Argus Press)