Michigan's vaccination waiver rate drops 39% after rule change
39% drop in vaccine exemptions statewide since last school year
LANSING, Mich. – State officials say a change in Michigan's vaccination policy has significantly decreased the rate of schoolchildren receiving immunization waivers.
Preliminary numbers released by the state Thursday show a 39 percent drop in vaccine exemptions statewide since last school year -- nearly 8,000 fewer waiver requests.
The rule, which took effect a year ago, requires parents wanting a nonmedical immunization waiver to first be educated by a local health department about the risks of not being vaccinated. Parents previously could file a philosophical or religious waiver without such a meeting.
Michigan had the country's sixth-highest percentage of kindergartners -- 5.3 percent -- exempted from at least one vaccine in the last academic year.
All kindergarteners, seventh-graders and new students must be up to date on certain immunizations or have a waiver.
The Kindergarten waiver rate has dropped from 5.18 percent to 3.32 percent; the 7th grade rate has dropped from 4.55 percent to 2.78 percent; and the rate for new students to a school district has dropped from 4.28 percent to 2.47 percent.
“This improvement in our vaccination coverage rates means that more kids are protected from outbreaks and serious vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS. “Unfortunately we have not eradicated some very serious diseases that affect children and adults alike. We continue to see outbreaks of pertussis, (whooping cough) and chickenpox in areas of Michigan as well as nationwide.”
View document: Key points of nonmedical waivers in Michigan
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