Michigan health experts encourage back-to-school vaccinations for students

Whitmer declares August 'Immunization Awareness Month'

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared August "Immunization Awareness Month." Now some health officials and doctors are urging Michigan parents to put immunizations on their back-to-school checklists.

"Oh, vaccinations are incredibly important," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "Every year we see far too many people who get sick, and sometimes even die, from vaccine-preventable diseases."

Khaldun was one of several doctors and health officials at a press conference Thursday inside Beaumont's Health Vaccination Clinic. Each person spoke about the benefits of immunization.

"My husband and I lost our infant daughter, Francesca Marie, to whooping cough," said Veronica McNally, of the Franny Strong Foundation. "As a parent who has experienced loss firsthand, I want to encourage parents to do everything they can to protect their children from vaccine-preventable diseases."

McNally now fights to encourage and educate parents about vaccination. Still, doctors have found people have concerns that vaccines can cause other health issues.

"The medical community, the research community, it's very clear," Khaldun said. "Vaccines are safe and vaccines are effective. It's important that people look to credible resources."

In Michigan, there have been 46 cases of measles since the outbreak began in March. Khaldun insists that refusing to vaccinate isn't a personal choice.

"If your child gets the disease, not only does it impact them, but it impacts the entire community, so it's a societal issue, as well," Khaldun said.

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