WUOMFM

Vaccine policy change likely to lower Michigan waivers

Feb 7, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Health experts hope a change in Michigan's vaccination waiver policy ensures more kids are immunized in a state with the country's fourth-highest percentage of kindergartners exempted from at least one vaccine.

The new rule was sought by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration and approved by lawmakers. It took effect Jan. 1 and comes amid a rise in whooping cough and measles cases.

  Parents wanting a nonmedical waiver must be educated by a local health department about the risks of not receiving vaccines.

  Michigan State University associate professor Mark Largent says the rule should prompt 30 percent of parents seeking waivers to get their kids vaccinated instead. But he says the change also will harden resistance among other parents.

  Legislators aren't looking to eliminate the ability to file waivers on philosophical grounds.