MedWatch: Vaccination Requirements

August is quickly ticking away, and these lazy days of summer will soon turn into back to school.

Along with picking up new clothes and supplies, doctors want parents to remember to do one more thing … Get their kids up to date on vaccinations.

The importance of immunizations in today’s MedWatch report.

"Doing everything we possibly can to make sure all the children are healthy and safe,” says Michelle Shane, the Children’s House. 

The Children’s House in Traverse City just took that one step further — a groundbreaking move mandating that every newly enrolled student here be fully immunized.

"It’s been really, a largely, positive response and parents of young children feeling a great sense of relief to know that we are so serious about the requirements for immunizations, not only for our children, but for our staff," says Michelle.

The Children’s House is a private, Montessori school — so they can make their own rules.

That’s not the case for public schools, so doctors are calling on parents to get their kids in and vaccinated.

"Having a child vaccinated is part of raising your child in a safe manner, just like you would use seatbelts, bike helmets, hold their hand while walking the streets, you would want to protect your child from diseases by giving them a vaccine," says Dr. Ledtke.

Doctor Christopher Ledtke says last year’s whooping cough outbreak should serve as a very real reminder of why immunizations are important.

"It was very surprising and quite stressful and busy for the health department, physicians, local emergency rooms, the hospital, it was taxing for the health care system," explains Dr. Ledtke.

Not to mention the children who got very, very sick.

And even more alarming to the medical field, pertussis and other preventable diseases could continue to be a problem this year.

"The proportion of school aged children in Michigan who are not vaccinated is significantly higher than almost any other state in the country. And the waiver rates for Grand Traverse and, in particular, Leelanau County are even higher," says Dr. Ledtke.

So now, Munson Medical Center is leading the charge, wanting everyone to understand how crucial this is for the health of your child and the health of your community.

"A lot of the goal is education. We want parents and families and caregivers to understand the importance of vaccinations, we want them to be able to access them easily. If there’s questions about safety, effectiveness, things like that, they need to be addressed, so we’ve had several community forums to answer these questions. We’ve set up immunization stations, clinics where people can come and get their vaccinations," says Dr. Ledtke.

This school year, 95 percent of the students at the Children’s House will be up to date on their vaccinations — that’s up from 72 percent last year.

And they’re hoping more schools and state governments will continue pushing for increased immunization rates.

"It’s been really eye opening for us as a school and also, hopefully, to some level we’ve helped, at least getting people nationwide to get to think a little more about moving in this direction, because I believe it’s the right thing to do for a school community," explains Michelle.

Categories: MedWatch