Skubick: Michigan Hoping To Decrease Vaccine Waivers

(WLNS) – With just one case linked to the recent measles outbreak, Michigan is not having as big a problem as in other states.

But if an outbreak were to happen, what would state officials do about allowing unvaccinated children to attend school?

6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has some answers.

Measles are highly contagious and obviously kids who are not vaccinated could spread the disease to other children who have not received the shots.

Under current state law if a parent does not want their children vaccinated, they have to go to the local health department where they are educated on the issue and after that if they still don’t want the shots, they can get a waiver from the school district and their child can go to class.

The chairman of the house health policy committee stands by that procedure.

“I think there are parents who do have legitimate fears and they should be able to have this method of going to the health department and getting a waiver. The parent has the ultimate decision in the health care of their child,” said Mike Callton (r), health policy chair.

Even though some doctors are banning unvaccinated kids from their offices, the schools cannot do that.

But this lawmaker believes schools should have the power to do that.

“I’m not sure we need to go as far as a mandate. There are other things that we can use to get parents to act upon and that would be to strengthen the law for schools to say your child can’t be here,” said state representative Winnie Banks (d), West Michigan.

The lt. governor does not favor a mandate but he’s convinced children can’t get autism if they get the measles shot.

“As a parent of an autistic child, I know children do not get autism from the shot.”

The state public health director is not ready to order parents to get the shots.

He says his department is educating parents and trying to reduce the number of waivers, but as for mandatory shots, “that’s something I will discuss with lawmakers,” said Nick Lyon, state public health director.

Reporter: “What is your position?”
Lyon: “I believe educating parents is what we must do. they’re going to decide.”
Reporter: “So you are saying no to a mandate?”
Lyon: “I’m not proposing a mandate as of yet.”

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