This story appeared in WILX 10. Read more here.
Childhood vaccination rates are dropping across Michigan. They’re below 70% in more than half the state’s 83 counties.
Public health experts said this means diseases like measles, mumps and chickenpox could spread more easily. That’s why school and health officials are asking parents to get their kids caught up on vaccines.
“I do feel as a failure,” said one mother who didn’t want to be identified at Patriarch Park in East Lansing. “There’s really a judgment factor I have on myself about that. I’m sure there are other people who have that feeling to toward parents who aren’t up to date on everything.”
The woman said the only reason her kids don’t have all there shots is the pandemic.
“Their doctor’s office was actually closed. So we missed that round of vaccines and then COVID just never let up,” she said.
She said she plans to get her kids vaccinated, but hasn’t made that appointment just yet.
“We don’t do anything indoors with them. So taking them into the clinic, or the doctor’s office seems a little bit risky,” the mother said. “He’s at that age where there are really important vaccines that are time sensitive that’s he’s getting behind on.”
Children’s vaccination rates dropped below 70% in 46 of Michigan’s 83 counties in the last year. Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said that could be a problem.
“If vaccinations rates went down, these diseases would come back, with the exception of small pox which has been eradicated,” said Vail.
Seventy-percent is the minimum threshold experts say is needed to maintain herd immunity.
“A vaccine protects you and a vaccine protects others. When we talk about herd immunity, that’s what we’re trying to say,” said Vail.
The mother at the park said she’d like to see drive-through clinics in the area, similar to how the COVID vaccine was distributed in the spring.
“My job is to protect my kids and vaccinations are part of that. They are a really important part of that,” she said.
The Ingham County Health Department offers vaccines every Monday – Friday. Its immunization clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Thursday from 1 – 4 p.m.
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 517-887-4316 or email email@example.com. Walk-ins are not accepted.