GRAND RAPIDS, MI – With more students in the state returning to class before Labor Day, health and school officials want families to include back-to-school vaccine appointments early on their checklist.

Vaccines are required for school entry in Michigan.

“Whenever children are brought into group settings, there is a chance for to spread,” officials say, about the need to follow state vaccine laws to attend school.

Twenty-seven of the 31 traditional school districts in the Kent and Ottawa Area ISDs reopen between Aug. 20 and 28. State law requires school to begin the Tuesday after Labor Day, barring a waiver.

Later this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will begin highlighting some of the vaccine preventable illnesses the department has been dealing with recently, according to communications director Angela Minicuci.

Minicuci said that includes the already two measles cases from international travel that the state has had from international travel, as well as hepatitis.

“On the Hepatitis A outbreak, while the majority of cases have been in adults, we have had some children that have become ill and we have had a very high hospitalization rate with this outbreak,” she said.

“Being that we continue to see vaccine preventable illnesses reemerging in Michigan, this is a strong reminder that vaccines work and we can protect our children by making sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.”

Children need vaccines to protect them from 14 serious, even life-threatening diseases, according to the state. Some required vaccines include: MMR – measles, mumps and rubella and Tdap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).

Health officials continue to encourage parents to visit the website to learn more facts.

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