Fewer Michigan parents seek vaccination waivers

By LAURA BOHANNON

Capital News Service

LANSING — The percentage of Michigan parents opting out of vaccinating their children has continued to drop since the state changed its waiver rules, Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon said.

“We’ve changed the way the waivers worked for parents to basically ask for an exemption for vaccinations for their children,” he said. “We’ve seen those waiver rates drop from 4.6 percent in November 2014 to 2.9 percent in 2016.”

Now, Michigan parents must speak with a public health provider to obtain a nonmedical waiver. In 2015, the year the changes were implemented, statewide waiver rates dropped to 3.1 percent.

The changes were prompted by the large number of Michigan parents waiving vaccines for their children. Michigan has one of the highest immunization waiver rates in the country, with some counties reporting rates as high as 12.5 percent, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Continue reading