GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Kent County Health Department is urging parents and guardians to make sure their summer plans include making an appointment to get their children immunized so they can return to school.

Michigan law bars students who do not have an up-to-date immunization history or a valid waiver from attending classes. It’s a restriction aimed at preventing the outbreak of disease and saving lives.

Some Kent County public school parents have a shorter window to arrange for vaccines. Fifteen of the 20 school districts in the Kent Intermediate School District are starting the new school year in August instead of after Labor Day.

“Parents need to make an appointment now to get in to get the vaccines their children need for school and the ones recommended for their age to be protected,” said Mary Wisinski, the immunization program supervisor for Kent County.

“My goal is to protect all the kids, so we have to keep our herd immunity high.”

When a high percentage of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, it is more difficult for infectious diseases to spread, she said.