In an op-ed published by the Lansing State Journal, Pediatrics and Human Development Associate Professor Jonathan Gold, MD expressed concern over Ingham County's declining rate of childhood vaccination. Widespread vaccination not only protects inoculated children from potentially deadly childhood diseases, it also protects children with medical issues that may prevent them from receiving the vaccinations themselves. Dr. Gold writes:
High immunization rates are especially important to vulnerable children with chronic diseases that either can't receive vaccines or in whom vaccines won't work.
The need for community immunity to protect our kids is one of the reasons that the state requires vaccines against contageous disease prior to school entry.
Without protection, experience has taught us time and time again, vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough can rapidly gain a foothold in a school or childcare setting. And when that happens, chronically ill children are the most likely to become very sick or even die.
Michigan law allows parents to opt out of the vaccination requirement through use of a waiver. While a 2015 modification to the law requires waiver-seeking parents to first be educated about vaccines, it has not satisfactorily curbed these waivers.
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