Michigan has the country’s fourth-highest rate of parents getting religious or philosophical waivers to vaccine requirements. About 7,300, or 5.5 percent of the state's roughly 125,000 kindergarteners had medical, religious or philosophical waivers on file last school year, which is up from the 6,900 the year before and 5,700 in 2010-11, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Dearborn Patch readers reacted to the news on Facebook.
"Today's parent is not an uneducated sheep that will do whatever their pediatrician tells them to," Karen DiGregorio said.
"My family is in the healthcare field with my oldest daughter being a pediatric cardiologist. We did not vaccinate any of our children (because) the benefits just do not out way the risks. Whatever you choose just make sure you do a thorough investigation."
Dearborn teacher Pattie Skelly had a different opinion, writing that she's glad most students are vaccinated and protected.
"I am a preschool teacher, and it's just awful when we have kids who aren't vaccinated," she said.
Skelly said one of the preschool's staff members was diagnosed with shingles after being exposed to a child with chicken pox.
Parent Jonathan Kade wrote, "By not vaccinating, you are not just putting your own children at risk, you are putting everybody else in danger as well."
Kade explained that a lot of families do not realize that some vaccines — such as the vaccine for pertussis and tetanus — can wear off after 10 years.
"By the time we're adults, we're vulnerable again, but very few adults ever get another booster shot," he said. "That's why a good friend of mine caught whooping cough at the age of 32."
Dearborn Public Schools follows the vaccination guidelines for the state of Michigan.
Policy 5320 states that an immunization waiver is acceptable only under the following conditions:• A physician signed waiver that indicates that the required immunizations could not be given because of medical contraindications
• A parent/guardian signed waiver that states that immunizations have not been given for religious or personal reasons.
Waivers are available in school offices.
Otherwise, kindergarteners in Dearborn Public Schools require the following immunizations:
- DTap (Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Superintendent Brian Whiston said exact figures on the number of students in the district who have received a vaccination waiver was unknown at the time of this article's publication.