Effective January 1, 2015, Michigan modified the administrative rules that change how nonmedical waivers for immunizations will be processed for school/childcare programs.
Why is this rule change important?
Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country. Some counties in Michigan have waiver rates as high as 20.7%. This means that more than 20% of the students in those counties haven’t gotten all their vaccines. Some school buildings have even higher waiver rates. This leaves communities vulnerable to diseases such as measles, chickenpox, and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are one of the most effective ways to protect children from harmful diseases and even death.
Key Points about the New Rule:
The new rule applies to all children who are enrolled in a public or private:
1) Licensed childcare, preschool, and Head Start programs
2) Kindergarten, 7th grade, and any newly enrolled student into the school district. The new rule does not take away your right to obtain a nonmedical waiver. Nonmedical waivers (religious or philosophical (other) objections) will need to be obtained from a county health department; the schools/childcare centers will not have them.
Parents/Guardians must follow these steps when requesting a nonmedical waiver:
- Contact your local health department office for an appointment to obtain a non-medical immunization waiver.
- During the visit, there will be an opportunity to have a discussion about immunizations with a member of the health department nursing staff.
- If at the end of the visit, you request a nonmedical waiver for your child, you will receive a copy of the current, certified (stamped and signed) State of Michigan Nonmedical Waiver Form.
- Schools/childcare centers will only accept the current, official State of Michigan form (Current date: January 1, 2015). Forms cannot be altered in any way (such as crossing information out).
- Take completed, certified waiver form to your child’s school or childcare center. If your child has a medical reason (a true contraindication or precaution) for not receiving a vaccine, a physician must sign the State of Michigan Medical Contraindication form; this form is available at your doctor’s office (not the county health department).
Based on the public health code, a child without either an up-to-date immunization record, a certified nonmedical waiver form or a physician signed medical waiver form can be excluded from school/childcare.
For additional information about the Non-Medical Immunization Waiver Rule, please view the following:
Waiver Flyer for Parents