Physicians, MDCH Urge Parents to Get Kids Immunized Before Heading Back to School > Michigan State Medical Society

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Physicians, MDCH Urge Parents to Get Kids Immunized Before Heading Back to School

Childhood Immunizations Crucial Amid Recent Outbreaks, Dwindling Vaccination Rates Say Docs, Dept. of Community Health 

LANSING—As kids prepare to head back to school early next month, the physicians at the Michigan State Medical Society and officials with the Michigan Department of Community Health today urged parents across the state to get their children immunized to protect them from infectious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and more. 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are traveling the state to raise awareness about troubling new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that show outbreaks on the rise as childhood immunization rates in Michigan decline. 

“Less than 72 percent of Michigan children and 63 percent of adolescents are fully immunized, leading to recent outbreaks of preventable diseases,” said Michigan State Medical Society President Kenneth Elmassian, D.O. “As parents prepare to send their children back-to-school in a few weeks, it is important they make sure each child is up-to-date with his or her immunizations.” 

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, preventable diseases like whooping cough have been increasing in Michigan in recent years. There were nearly 850 cases of whooping cough in Michigan law year alone, and a 3 month old Michigan girl lost her life to the disease. 

Because of their developing immune systems and exposure in settings like school and daycare, children and infants are especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. 

“Whooping cough can be especially severe in infants less than 6 months of age, who are at highest risk of severe illness, complications, and even death,” said Bob Swanson, Director of the Division of Immunizations with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated are not protected from many preventable diseases making it critical to protect the entire family, especially school-aged children, through immunizations.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Michigan last year saw the second largest drop in the percentage of children being immunized of any state while outbreaks of diseases often considered eradicated have begun sweeping the Midwest. 

At 5.3 percent of the population, Michigan has the fourth-highest rate in the nation of parents refusing to immunize their children, according to numbers compiled by the CDC. 

The best way to keep children safe is by making sure they have received all their immunizations. 

CDC reports conclude that immunizations are safe and effective. They are thoroughly tested before being approved, and public health officials continually monitor their safety and effectiveness. Immunization is still one of the best ways to protect your child from preventable diseases. If you have questions about immunizations, talk with your physician. 

For more information on childhood immunizations, please visit www.msms.org and www.Michigan.gov/mdch. The Michigan State Medical Society is a professional association of more than 15,000 Michigan physicians. Its mission is to promote a health care environment which supports physicians in caring for, and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens through science, quality, and ethics in the practice of medicine. 

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