Health officials urge parents to put immunizations on to do list

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - Kids going back to school is a good time to talk vaccinations.

In a press release from a news conference where Beaumont Health addressed health experts about vaccinating kids, they said that "Michiganders should take steps now, before winter and the start of school, to protect themselves and their children against vaccine-preventable diseases."

“Vaccines protect our children from serious and preventable diseases,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief deputy director for health and chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Now is the time to visit your local health department or family doctor for immunizations, to help your kids start the school year on the right foot.”

Governor Whitmer designated August as "Immunization Awareness Month" and said, “As Michigan continues to face outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, it’s more important than ever that people make sure they are up to date on immunizations,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I encourage people of all ages to talk with their health care providers about the vaccines necessary to protect their health and the health of their families.”

Officials say that Michigan and 29 other states continue to battle the country’s worst measles outbreak in decades, with more than 1,172 individual cases of measles confirmed nationwide.

And Michigan has seen 46 cases of measles since the outbreak began in March.

“We recognize the importance of ensuring families have access to health professionals to answer their vaccine questions as their children head back to school,” said Jeff Cook, director of child and adolescent health for Beaumont Health. “We are proud to have locations in health clinics and hospitals across the metro Detroit area to make it easy for families to add vaccines to their back-to-school checklist.”

Officials said that when less than 90 percent of children are vaccinated in a particular community, pockets of low vaccination create an environment where diseases can take hold and spread.

And that areas with more vaccination waivers mean fewer children in the community are vaccinated and the community may not be protected by community immunity.

“As a parent, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts of vaccine-preventable diseases coming back in Michigan,” said Veronica Valentine McNally, founder of the Franny Strong Foundation. “We founded the Franny Strong Foundation and I Vaccinate campaign to provide tools and resources to answer parents’ questions and help protect families from experiencing these illnesses themselves.”

The IVaccinate.org website includes recommended vaccination schedules, Michigan-specific resources and a frequently asked questions section, where parents can find answers to common questions based on credible medical research and sources to learn more.

The I Vaccinate campaign is a joint public-private effort of the MDHHS and the Franny Strong Foundation. The campaign highlights that there is medical consensus on vaccines—they are safe and effective at preventing disease and protect entire communities from outbreaks. The campaign aims to create a positive conversation surrounding vaccines and the reasons why most parents do fully vaccinate their children.

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