Is it Medical Neglect to Not Vaccinate Your Children in Michigan? (Pt 1)

January 23, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Child being vaccinated
Michigan allows parents to choose whether or not they vaccinate their kids, but choosing not to means following specific protocols.

The issue of vaccinating children is a heated one. Vaxers versus anti-vaxers is a war that has raged across social media platforms for several years now, and everyone has taken a firm stand on one side of the line or the other. Insults are tossed around, and accusations of “bad parenting” and “child abuse” are usually quick to follow. But what is the truth in this case? Is it child abuse to not vaccinate your child here in Michigan? Does choosing not to vaccinate mean you’re committing medical neglect? Let’s take a look at what the law says…

Choosing not to vaccinate your kids is your choice.

A parent or guardian in Michigan has the right to choose not to vaccinate their child. However, that decision can’t simply be made in a vacuum, without notifying the right authorities. Deciding not to vaccinate a child is a very important decision, and should be carefully weighed, not just for the potential health consequences, but also for the possible legal concerns it can bring.

How do you exempt your child from vaccinations in Michigan?

According to Michigan law, a child is exempt from being immunized if a parent or guardian presents a written statement to the administrator of the child’s school explaining that the child won’t be immunized because of religious convictions, or other personal objections. Medical exemptions are another reason that the state allows for children to not be vaccinated, usually because they are considered “medically fragile.”

Vaccines were made mandatory in Michigan in the late ’70s

Starting in 1978, the state of Michigan required that every single student had to be vaccinated when they started kindergarten. In order to prove that they’d received all the immunizations that were considered mandatory, each child had to have a certificate filled out and signed by the health department, proving that they’ve been immunized. At that time, there were certain very specific instances where a child was allowed to forgo their shots, but it was very rare.

The law governing vaccination in Michigan is constantly changing.

As of January 1st, 2015, Michigan requires that a parent of guardian undergo “vaccine education,” which has to be administered and certified by a local health department in order for the waiver to be granted. That means the parent choosing to forgo immunizations for personal or religious reasons is required to attend a “class” at the health department explaining the importance of immunizations before the health department will sign the waiver.

If it’s legal, why do some people call it child abuse?

Choosing not to vaccinate children has been linked to increases in communicable diseases that were previously thought to be almost eradicated. As such, vaccinations are taken very seriously, both by health officials, and by parents on either side of the argument. However, regardless of personal opinion, you do have rights. If CPS, the police, or school administration has accused you of medical neglect or child abuse, you need to call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled and experienced child abuse defense attorneys can help protect your rights. Join us next time to wrap up this important discussion, and find out what your rights are!