Tracking kindergarten vaccine exemptions in Michigan
In Michigan, 4.5% of kindergartners were granted exemptions to required vaccines as of the end of last school year. That's down from 5.5% in 2012.
Why it matters: Michigan is bucking the national trend of higher exemption rates, ticking up and down over the years but still lower than a decade ago.
- Vaccinations reduce the spread of childhood illnesses like smallpox that once plagued the country. While children are generally required to get vaccinations before attending public school, exemptions can be given for both medical and nonmedical reasons, such as religious or moral objections.
- Studies have found an increased risk of infection from vaccine-preventable diseases among exempt children.
Yes, but: Overall childhood vaccination rates here are their lowest since 2011, sliding under 70% in half the counties, Michigan Radio recently reported. That vaccination rate is considered a minimum for herd immunity.
- "We really saw those rates of routine childhood immunizations drop during the pandemic," state chief medical executive Natasha Bagdasarian said at a press conference.
By the numbers: Nationally, the median kindergarten vaccine exemption rate was rising even before the pandemic, increasing from 1.4% in 2012 to 2.6% in 2019, per CDC estimates.
- The rate was 2.7% in 2022.
Driving the news: While COVID-19 vaccination is not required for young children attending public school, it appears that concerns over that shot may be fueling broader skepticism nationally.
- Just 70% of Americans now say healthy kids should be vaccinated as a requirement to attend public school— down from 82% pre-COVID-19, per a recent Pew survey.
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