By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Proposed legislation requiring school districts to publicize their vaccination rates will help parents make better health choices and might improve vaccination education, the bill’s sponsor said. Introduced earlier this year, the bill package would require schools to post vaccination rates, which are already reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in school offices or on their websites. State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, said his legislation would provide parents more information when picking a school for their child. “Those kids, and those parents, have a right to make an educated choice,” Hertel said. “If you have a child that’s going to treatment and chemotherapy and can’t get a vaccine, why would you want to send them to a school that is below herd immunity?” Hertel said.
BY COLLIN KRIZMANICH
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.
On Friday, the first Holt Health Fair and Flu and Pneumonia Shot clinic was held at the Holt Senior Care and Rehab Center, 5091 Willoughby Road. The fair was held to promote preventative health care and provide information about various health, wellness and senior care services in the community, said Mary Brier, advertising and marketing director of Holt Senior Care and Rehab Center. “This is the first year we’re doing this here so we aren’t sure what to expect, but we felt this would be something really useful for members of the community,” Brier said. The fair, which had vendors almost exclusively from Holt, was designed to showcase local health services to residents. “We really targeted Holt and most of the vendors are from here, so we really tried to keep it Holt-community based,” Brier said.