New state rules requires vaccine-exempt parents to take class - WNEM TV 5

New state rules requires vaccine-exempt parents to take class

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Karen O'Brien is like most mothers, she wants what's best for her kids.

"They're your children. Do what you feel is best for your child," O’Brien said.

And that's why she decided not to keep her youngest daughter on a rigid vaccine schedule.

"I decided to sign a waiver to exempt her from vaccines," O’Brien said.

New state rules in Michigan mean parents now must attend a class at the health department before they can get that waiver.

O'Brien said she's not opposed to the restriction, as long as she gets final say.

"I would be willing to do it just because I feel like it's still our choice ultimately what we put in our children's bodies," O’Brien said.

The mother of five isn't alone when it comes to skipping those shots.

With back to school season quickly approaching, you might be surprised to learn how many kids in your child's classroom don't have their vaccines.

The Detroit Free Press complied statistics of kindergarteners with waivers by county.

  • 2.7% in Saginaw County
  • 5.7% in Genesee County
  • 1.5% in Bay County
  • 12.1% in Midland County

O'Brien said she's thankful her daughter is healthy so far.

Vaccine supporters said infection can spread rapidly among school-age children and it's important for them to be up to date.

O'Brien said she's wasn't willing to take the risk on the potential side effects.

"Some of the risks that have come to light made me think twice about vaccinating her at such a young age," O’Brien said.

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