Michigan law allows for medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions from vaccines in daycare and preschool through 12th grade.
Vaccine Choice means a parent has the choice to fully vaccinate, spread out, delay, opt out of some but not all, or opt out of all mandated vaccinations. Michigan law protects that choice for medical, religious or other reasons. If any of the mandated vaccines are missing, the parent will need to exempt their child.
The Michigan Health Department enacted Administrative Rule 325.176 (12) on January 1, 2015 requiring parents or guardians who want a religious or philosophical exemption from one or more vaccines for their child(ren)
Parents must provide private information about their child at the meeting, often against their consent, sign statements they might not agree with, often answer questions they are not comfortable with, in order to obtain this waiver.
You can read how to obtain a school waiver below.
How do I obtain the Certified Waiver from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)?
To obtain a vaccine waiver for school, call the health department in the county of your school district, and then schedule a vaccine waiver education session.
You are not required to provide:
Your doctor's name
Your insurance information
Your reason for wanting the waiver prior to attending the session
Please note that only one parent or legal guardian needs to attend and you are not required to bring your child(ren).
ALTERNATIVE EXEMPTION STATEMENT
As an alternative, some parents have been successful using their own vaccine exemption statement—which was the norm prior to 2015 and the law outlining that process is still in place.
MDHHS Waiver FAQ
How often do I need to attend a waiver session?
A vaccine waiver is needed for:
Each year of state-funded daycare
Any newly enrolled student (to a district)
Who keeps the original copy?
You keep the original waiver, and provide a copy of the waiver to the daycare or school your child is attending. This is also stated on the bottom of the waiver form.
What is a waiver session at the health department like?
The health department nurse will cover the benefits of vaccines. MVC members who have attended a session reported that they did not receive information about vaccine risks, adverse reactions or how to report them.
Afterward, you will be asked for your reasoning for obtaining a waiver. Acceptable reasons are religious and philosophical. It's not necessary to elaborate; you can state, "Vaccines go against my deeply held beliefs."
At the end of the session, you may be asked if you'd like to receive any vaccines from the health department nurse. You have the right to accept or decline their offer.
What if my child has immunity?
If your child has already had an illness and gained natural immunity as a result, you will still need to obtain a vaccine waiver if you choose to skip the vaccine targeting that illness.
For a current list of vaccines required for entry into schools in Michigan, please check the Health department website.
Tell MVC about your waiver session experience via this secure form: Waiver Session Feedback
Did you know?
The flu and HPV vaccines are not mandatory for Michigan students, and do not require a vaccine waiver.
Language in school communications may make it seem like these shots are required, but they are not. If you have a concern, inform the administrators and ask them to make it clear that these vaccines are optional.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
According to Federal FERPA privacy law, a child’s immunization records and waiver/exemption statements are part of their education record. As a result, they are subject to FERPA protection and cannot be released to third parties such as the local and state health departments without explicit, affirmative, parental consent.