The beginning of the school year is a busy time–it’s not too early to start thinking about back-to-school immunizations (and the appointments and paperwork that go along with it)!

Here are a few resources to help you protect your kids as they get ready to start a new school year this fall.

Minimum requirements

If you have a student entering kindergarten, 7th grade or newly enrolling into a school system, they must meet the minimum requirements for immunizations in Michigan.

For kids entering kindergarten

Requirements for kindergartners vary by district, but in general, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Proof of residency
  2. Proof of birth
  3. Proof of vaccinations

The easiest way to provide proof of vaccinations is through scheduling a wellness checkup for your child. We suggest making that appointment sooner rather than later–office schedules can fill up quickly during the summer months, and so can yours!

During the visit, you can request proof of immunization from the doctor, who will access your kid’s immunization records through the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). Check with your school district to see if there are any special forms that need to be signed by the doctor during your visit.

If your kindergartener is behind on their recommended vaccination schedule, the wellness checkup will be a great time to get the, up to date and ready for their first day of school. Before your appointment, take some time to explore our resources about recommended immunization schedules. During the appointment, we encourage you to ask the doctor and medical staff about vaccines that are available based on the recommended immunization schedule, and any other questions you might have. You can also explore our Frequently Asked Questions section, to get a head start on answers to your most pressing questions.

If your child has already gone to their annual wellness checkup, you may request a copy of your child’s MCIR record from your local health department or request a copy from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

For kids entering 7th grade and newly enrolled students

Requirements for students entering 7th grade and newly enrolled students vary depending on your school district. Typically, your child will need to meet the minimum vaccine requirements, and the doctor will need to fill out a form during a regular wellness checkup.

If your student needs an updated proof of immunizations, you can get the paperwork during their wellness checkup. At the office, you may request proof of immunization from the doctor, who will retrieve your student’s immunization records through the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR).

Before your appointment, be sure to visit our resources about recommended immunization schedules to see what vaccines your kid needs. During the appointment, we encourage you to ask your doctor about vaccines available and any concerns you may have.

If your family recently completed your wellness checkups, you may request a copy of your child’s MCIR record from your local health department or request a copy from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

It’s okay to have questions!

As parents, we want to make the right choices for our kids’ health, but it’s ok if you don’t have all the answers. There is so much information—and misinformation— surrounding vaccines, and it’s important to ask questions and discuss concerns you have with your child’s doctor. Also, be sure to explore our Frequently Asked Questions section as a reliable resource for answers to some of the most frequent questions parents ask about vaccines, based only on credible medical research and science from the most trusted and respected physicians, research and public health organizations across the globe.

In Michigan, parents have the option to decline vaccinations for their children for medical and religious/philosophical reasons. Medical waivers are available for kids who would experience detrimental health effects from vaccination and are signed by a doctor. Non-medical vaccination waivers are available for philosophical and religious reasons and are signed by parents or guardians. Parents who want a non-medical vaccination waiver for their child are required to attend an informational sessions at their local health department before the waiver can be approved.

Why it’s so important

Remember: Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things you can do to protect your child’s health. Your decision affects the health of all children in your community, including your own.

For most vaccine-preventable diseases, when less than 90 percent of children are vaccinated in a particular community (for example, your child’s classroom or school), these pockets of low vaccination create an environment where diseases can take hold and spread. Recent outbreaks of whooping cough and hepatitis A show how quickly these diseases can spread.

Get ahead this summer and protect your family

Now is a great time to make sure your kids are up to date. And while you’re at it, share this information with fellow parents, so they’ll be ready for the upcoming school year, too!