Health officials say Michigan childhood vaccine rate at lowest since 2011
State data reports that the two lowest vaccinated counties in the U.P. are Keweenaw County (50 percent) and Houghton County (53.9 percent)
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - As you complete your children’s back-to-school checklist, one of those items may be getting your annual vaccinations.
The state health department is urging you to vaccinate your children before school.
“Michigan’s childhood vaccination rates are the lowest they have been since 2011. In 2023, only 66.5 percent of children between the ages of 19 and 36 months had completed their recommended doses of primary vaccines,” said Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive.
Dr. Bagdasarian said the rate has dropped from more than 75 percent in 2017. She said a 70 percent vaccination rate is the minimum to be considered good “herd immunity.”
“These schools and communities with low vaccination rates are at an increased risk of outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox,” Bagdasarian said.
According to state data, Keweenaw County is the second-lowest vaccinated county in Michigan at an even 50 percent and Houghton County is just behind at 53.9 percent. Most of the U.P. falls into the 60 to 69 percent vaccinated range, which is still below minimum herd immunity.
“Vaccines are one of the most important items on every family’s back-to-school checklist. We want to make sure your children avoid catching and spreading preventable illnesses,” said Ruthanne Sudderth, Michigan Health and Hospital Association senior VP.
To help increase availability for vaccine appointments, the Marquette County Health Department has extended its clinic hours to 7 p.m. ET on Mondays to accommodate working parents.
“We are set up to help people if they have kids who are nervous about shots, we have the time and extra space to accommodate those who are fearful,” said Kathleen Mell, Marquette County Health Department public health nurse.
Mell said it is important for parents to ask questions if they have concerns and she welcomes conversations with parents who are unsure about the vaccines.
Copyright 2023 WLUC. All rights reserved.