New rule, broad outreach could increase vaccinations

Capital News Service
LANSING — The percentage of parents who opt their children out of vaccinations in Michigan is more than three times the national average, but the numbers vary greatly depending on where you’re looking. Waiver rates range from less than 1 percent in Branch County to nearly 20 percent in Cheboygan County. Michigan parents have a lot of leeway: The state is one of 20 that allows waivers not only for religious beliefs, but also on philosophical grounds. Officials are hoping fewer parents will follow through on waiver requests under a rule that took effect this year requiring parents requesting a vaccination waiver to meet with a local health official before the waiver is granted. At this meeting, parents are presented with information to learn about the risks of not vaccinating, and the benefits of vaccination.