Obtaining an Immunization Waiver is Easier Than "They" Want You to Think

*Please note: this article is not an exhaustive study about research findings and /or anecdotes of families affected by adverse vaccine reactions. This article is informative in nature to provide parents the process of how to obtain a vaccine waiver. Please reference Michigan for Vaccine Choice (MVC) for additional information. Their resources will offer greater detail about legislation, as well.

If you are resident of Michigan then you have the freedom to make health care decisions for yourself and individually per child. (Much gratitude to MVC for maintaining this right for all of us.) The school systems and mainstream media would love for you to believe (and they do a great job at making you believe this) that in order to attend daycare or school your child must be in full compliance with the immunization schedule as instructed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC.)

Popular media, the government, and the CDC would like you to trust this new rule in Michigan is a completely new process for parents who are inclined to opt-out or delay immunizations. Since 1978 parents have been signing immunization waivers they received from their healthcare provider, or printed themselves from the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH) website. The parent would then sign indicating which immunizations their child was “not up to date” on, and deliver it to their child’s daycare or school at the beginning of the year. Easy process, plus confidentiality was higher.

That process just added a couple more steps making it more inconvenient for mom and dad, and so the government can keep an eye on who really is completing the waivers. Our state has one of the highest rates of exemptions in the country. MLive.com reported in December 2014 the two counties with the highest waivers on file were “Oakland and Livingston… two most affluent counties in Michigan, based on median household income, and their residents among the best-educated.” 

There are two reasons waivers are completed by the educated and affluent. The first reason is when someone has completed a higher-educational degree like a Bachelor's, Master's, or Ph.D. program they have learned how to research in order to graduate. There isn't a program in the higher educational community where a student doesn't write a research paper, conduct their own studies, or work as a group to gather ideas to arrive at the best solution for a problem. 

This diligence and ability to decipher fact from fiction is a leading example of why the "best-educated" question the ethics of vaccinations.

Secondly, the wealthy do not need governmental assistance in order to survive. They have the financial resources to seek non-medical preventative and healing care. Prioritizing finances to alternative health care is a huge hurdle for those new to living this way. Eventually one will get used to paying out-of-pocket; but it requires re-programming of how healthcare was once viewed.

When someone depends on their insurance company to provide all their healthcare needs, they are then susceptible to whatever the insurance company has to offer. Insurance companies do not make money on people who are well. 

Similarly, those who rely on the government for food stamps, and healthcare are easily led to do whatever the government says to do. (The CDC is a separate entity from the government, and is an independent for-profit company.)

So, when someone is not rich, isn't well-educated then they are compliant to do whatever they need to do to survive. It's up to the educated and affluent to be a voice. Not only for ourselves, but for those stuck in the system.

Who Needs an Immunization Waiver?

Your child does not need to be “up to date” on their vaccinations to attend most private, and all public:

  • Day Cares
  • Preschools
  • Elementary Schools
  • Middle Schools
  • High Schools
  • Most colleges and  universities (check the admissions process per individual higher education school, you may also use this form from the MVC site.)

Immunization Waivers are required for the following:

  • Every year for daycare and preschool
  • Kindergarten
  • 7th grade
  • Newly enrolled student into the school district

How to Obtain an Immunization Waiver

  1. Contact your county health department to set up a waiver education meeting.
    1. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

For convenience, below are some Southeast Michigan county sites:

Livingston County call 517-546-9850 to schedule

Macomb County call 586-466-6840 to schedule

Oakland County call 800-848-5533 or schedule online

Washtenaw County call 734-544-6700

Wayne County call 734-727-7078

  1. After the meeting, make a few copies of the original waiver for your records. Follow your daycare or school guidelines to submit your waiver form.

The Waiver Education Meeting

It will last approximately less than 30 minutes.

If you'd like to see the "educational" materials you may be presented with scroll down to Local Health Departments on the MDHHS site. You may even print them out and prove to the nurse you've already "educated" yourself on the government's stance.

You will check-in at a desk, and a nurse will greet you.

The nurse will walk you into a private room. He or she will ask which vaccinations your child(ren) are not “up to date” on, or ask for their immunization record. 

Then she will ask your reason for exemption: religious, philosophical, or medical - if you have written documentation from your health care provider.

If you are asked details about your religious or philosophical reasons you are not required to answer. It is none of the government's business. Please do not give your health care provider's information as well. Keep everything confidential.

All you are there to do is listen or even educate the nurse on your research findings regarding vaccinations. Then sign the document, taking the original home with you. They are not to make copies as it violates FERPA. That’s it.

Personally, I’ve been through this new process three years in a row now. Many first timers are nervous. Please know you are simply meeting with a nurse. Someone who’s life and career path is that of a caregiver. They are not trained pushy sales people, and generally are patient and kind while getting the waiver completed. (I'm pretty sure they don't care for this process either.) I had the same nurse for the second time around last summer. Smiling I let her I'd see her in 2017 if we can’t change the rule sooner! She seemed uncomfortable with seeing me again, but I had a good laugh about it! ... and sure enough I got someone else in 2017!

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About Elise

I'm a RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) and RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher) rooted in the Hatha tradition, and the Samkhya philosophy; however I attend a variety of classes, like Kundalini. I’m living my dharma (purpose) by creating a community to assist women during the rite of passage into motherhood through the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual qualities of the yoga practice.

In addition to yoga, I'm a mom of two beautiful children and have many interests including Feng Shui, Reiki, alternative healing methods, harnessing my intuition and whatever else inspires me along the way!

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