Vaccination season in full swing ahead of new school year - WNEM TV 5

Vaccination season in full swing ahead of new school year

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

In less than a month children all across Mid-Michigan will grab their backpacks and head back to class.

But they will need more than just books and pencils. Many will need to prove they are up to date on their vaccinations.

While most medical professionals recommend vaccines as a safe way to prevent children from contracting potentially life-altering diseases, some parents doubt their immunizing powers.

Under Michigan law id you don't want to vaccinate you have to get a doctor's approval.

"They deal with so much," said Verlon Buckwheat, parent.

Buckwheat said school children come in contact with so many kids and germs. For that reason they should be vaccinated.

"Really, just to take the time just to get a vaccination, go through the public health system. It's just a matter of time," Buckwheat said.

Doctors' offices and county health departments are bustling this month as parents scramble to figure out what immunizations their children need.

Dr. Gary Johnson, Genesee County's medical director, talked about the diseases vaccines prevent.

"Measles, chickenpox, mumps. We've had polio, diseases we don't want to see anymore. So the child can be protected and also classmates can be protected," Johnson said.

County health departments encourage parents to get vaccinated.

In a global society it's easy to think of vaccine-preventable diseases as a thing of the past. But Johnson said they are not.

"It won't hurt the child to get four to five vaccines at once," Johnson said.

Still there are a host of parents who aren't comfortable with immunizations.

They too are scrambling this month to get doctor approved waivers before kids go back to school.

One state organization has a warning for parents seeking waivers.

Michigan For Vaccine Choice said parents can be coerced into providing private information and signing legal documents that go against their religious or philosophical beliefs.

The whole idea of waivers scares some parents.

"Most of 'em say it's religious ideas, but that puts other kids at risk too. See, so if they want them to go to public schools or go to schools with other kids they should have to abide by the rules," Buckwheat said.

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