Michigan’s vaccination waiver rate drops after rule change

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State officials say a change in Michigan’s vaccination policy has significantly decreased the rate of schoolchildren receiving immunization waivers.

Preliminary numbers released by the state Thursday show a 41 percent drop in vaccine exemptions statewide since last school year — nearly 8,000 fewer waiver requests.

The rule, which took effect a year ago, requires parents wanting a nonmedical immunization waiver to first be educated by a local health department about the risks of not being vaccinated. Parents previously could file a philosophical or religious waiver without such a meeting.

Michigan had the country’s sixth-highest percentage of kindergartners — more than 5 percent — exempted from at least one vaccine last year.

All kindergarteners, seventh-graders and new students must be up to date on certain immunizations or have a waiver.

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