GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Michigan has one of the highest rates of unvaccinated children in the country. Nearly 6% of our children attend school without being immunized.
The Michigan State Medical Society wants to change that by taking away one of the choices on the state's immunization form.
The group unanimously voted to request the change be made to the State's Public Health Policy Code and says by eliminating the option of selecting "other" the rate of vaccinations may improve
President Rose Ramirez says right now parents can opt out of vaccinating their child for religious, medical or other reasons, "To just not give your children vaccines when you don't think they should have them when it is in their best interest and for the interest of our communities as a whole I think that we should have everyone vaccinated that can be."
The concern is that it only takes one case of a virus like measles to start an epidemic, "Epidemics just sort of our spring out of nowhere; that's the concern." says Dr. James Applegate, a family doctor with Mercy Health, "Something comes into our environment like the virus either in a daycare or in travel that exposes one child who isn't immunized who then exposes other children who aren't immunized and that's what causes an epidemic."
Here is some perspective on measles cases in Michigan over the past ten years:
There have been 14 cases. The last one occurred in 2013 in Battle Creek.
Nearly all of them stemmed from an unvaccinated person traveling outside the U.S.
And not all of them were young children, they included teens and adults.
As for the recommendation from the Michigan State Medical Society it's now up to the organization to find a legislator to sponsor a bill and get it passed before the change can be made.
Parents will still have the right to opt out of having their children vaccinated for religious or medical reasons even if the change is adopted.