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Immunization Waiver Information

Michigan parents or guardians opting out of the vaccinations required for their child or children to attend childcare or school, must now request a waiver from their local public health department. In Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County Public Health is providing the required educational sessions.

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If a child is not up-to-date on her or his vaccinations, a waiver is required for the child to enroll in:

  • a licensed childcare
  • preschool or Head Start
  • kindergarten
  • seventh grade
  • a new school district (or a new charter or private school).

Parents or guardians of school-age children entering other grades or remaining in the same school district do NOT need to request a wavier at this time, even if their child or children are not fully vaccinated.

“There’s been a lot of debate in recent years. We can provide reliable information and local data about the benefits of vaccination and the risks of vaccine-preventable illnesses,” says Jane Nickert, MSN, MSBA, director of nursing for Washtenaw County Public Health. “Local families can then make their own, informed decisions.”

Waivers cannot be mailed or completed over the phone. Appointments take approximately 20 minutes.kids with backpacks

Why the Change?

Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country. Washtenaw County has a higher waiver rate than other Michigan counties.

When are Waivers Required?

Michigan Public Health Law requires that all infants and children have certain vaccinations or a valid waiver before entering public or private school or licensed childcare settings. These requirements exist to prevent the spread of disease and to prevent injury or death in the community. Immunization records are checked every fall for all licensed childcare, preschool and Head Start students. Public and private schools check immunization records at the beginning of the school year for kindergartners, seventh graders and all newly enrolled students.

The new rules apply to nonmedical waivers, or those requested based on religious, philosophical or other objections to receiving required vaccines. Waivers are only reviewed at the grade levels and conditions specified above. The new rules do not change the existing process for children who have a medical reason for not receiving a vaccine (a medical contraindication or precaution).

More Information

In December, 2014, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved a new educational requirement for Michigan parents opting their children out of getting vaccinated before entering school. See information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on the change.

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