Why the Sudden Drop in Immunizations

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

The numbers are alarming, only 63 percent of teens have their recommended shots. Two-year-olds are hardly any better, with less than 72 percent getting theirs.

"Because of their developing immune systems and exposure in settings like school and daycare children and infants are especially vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases," said Kenneth Elmassian, the President of the Michigan State Medical Society.

So why are so many parents in Michigan leaving their kids vulnerable?

"One of the challenges with regards to immunizations, as some of you may be aware, the recommendations tend to change on an annual basis, sometimes more frequently than that," said Jevon McFadden, an M.D. who works at the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Making matters worse, some shots are individual while others come in a series. Kids need about 6 different kinds of shots. Just keeping track of the 16 different doses is challenging.

Further compounding the issue, some anti-vaccine organizations claim the shots cause things like autism.

"There is some media out there that is not accurate and the public does respond to that," said Bob Swanson of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "we also have a lot of vaccines that are administered in a short number of time."

While state law requires kids get vaccinated, there are three waivers. Kids can get a medical or religious exemption, but a growing number of people file a waiver for "other objections."

"We've seen a dramatic increase in those "other objections," people that are signing waivers for sometimes legitimate reasons, personal beliefs and other times laziness," said Swanson.

Doctors are urging parents to add shots to their back-to-school lists. It's easy to get behind, but their are physicians warn of serious consequences.

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