Vaccinations prevent the spread of disease and death. Michigan is one of 18 states allowing parents to withhold childhood vaccinations due to non-medical reasons including both religious and philosophical beliefs. In an effort to decrease waivers, a law was passed requiring parents seeking a vaccination waiver to attend an educational program at their local health department about the risks of non-vaccinated children. Under Michigan law, school officials may prevent unvaccinated children from attending school for up to 21 days given a report of a spreadable illness. While the new law has significantly decreased the number of waivers, and subsequently the number of unvaccinated children, there is an ongoing debate of the new law’s requirements and the question of balance between individual liberties and public health.
The forum will open discussion with informed panelists who have monitored the ongoing debate surrounding vaccinations as well as the new law.