LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun joined forces with school officials Monday to call on parents before school starts to catch students up on childhood immunizations that were missed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that for children born in the U.S. from 1994 to 2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of those children’s lifetimes. Now that is a big deal,” Khaldun said.
Childhood vaccination rates have dropped below 70% in more than half of Michigan’s counties. Seven counties and the city of Detroit have dropped below 60%.
East Lansing School Board President Terah Chambers said without parents catching up their kids on vaccines, she isn’t confident that students will be able to maintain an all in-person school year. That includes those 12 and up who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
—News 8’s Emily Linnert contributed to this report.