In ‘Stealth Move,’ Mich. Refines Vaccine Waivers, Improves Rate Among Kids

Preface by TLB Staff Writer: Christopher Wyatt

WOW! The following article is disturbing on many levels! Take a look at it and think about what they are really saying! It is abundantly clear that the elite are going to find ways to force and manipulate people into being vaccinated whether the general public wants it or not. What they are doing is a slap in the face for human rights!

This plan calls for parents to be strong armed into vaccinating and makes it clear that they want to make it difficult to obtain exemptions. The idea of the elite finding new ways to push vaccines really bothers me because I have not had the best day dealing with being vaccine injured.

Things are usually pretty good, but most who know me know I have some lingering neurological issues from the Hepatitis B vaccine. Around noon I spilled coffee on myself because my hand spasmed and I dropped the coffee pot. I laughed it off to my clumsiness but I know the root cause and it sickens me to know what I know.

Luckily I was not hurt and the only real damage was a broken coffee pot and me looking as if I had peed my pants. To be honest I have felt weak and tired the last few days and it is just something that happens to me from time to time. I am one of the lucky vaccine injured as I am healthier than most people and for that I am thankful.

The thankfulness I usually feel is challenged on days like today because I am reminded that I can no longer play video games with accuracy and that I have to be extra careful in the kitchen or when taking a shower. What I feel is a weird mixture of anger, guilt, and a knowing of just how bad things could have turned out. What I am feeling is something only a person dealing with a vaccine injury can understand.

As a filmmaker and a person living with a vaccine injury I am fighting back the only way I know how by warning others. I am very blessed to be a writer here at The Liberty Beacon, and I am grateful for having support for the documentary I am producing called SPOTTING THE TRUTH a project that combines documenting the benefits of natural immunity and the lives of those impacted by vaccine injury.

All anyone needs to be a part of SPOTTING THE TRUTH is access to a decent camera (mobile phone, video camera, computer) and a willingness to help end the lies!

I urge everyone to know the vaccine law in your state! If there is anything that calls for an exemption of ANY kind I urge you to rail against it! Exemptions are illusions of choice! Exemptions do not protect everyone! THEY CAN (AND WILL) BE TAKEN AWAY! We have a duty to end the vaccine lie! (CW)

In ‘Stealth Move,’ Mich. Refines Vaccine Waivers, Improves Rate Among Kids


Just three years ago, Michigan had the fourth-highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners in the nation. But when a charter school in northwestern Traverse City reported nearly two dozen cases of whooping cough and several cases of measles that November, state officials were jolted to action.

Without much fanfare — or time for opponents to respond — they abandoned the state’s relatively loose rules for getting an exemption and issued a regulation requiring families to consult personally with local public health departments before obtaining an immunization waiver.

The new rule sidestepped potential ideological firefights in the state Legislature, which have plagued lawmakers in other states trying to crack down on vaccination waivers. The regulation had a dramatic effect. In the first year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that the number of statewide waivers issued had plunged 35 percent. Today, Michigan is in the middle of the pack among vaccination rates.

“The idea was to make the process more burdensome,” said Michigan State University health policy specialist Mark Largent, who has written extensively about vaccines. “Research has shown that if you make it more inconvenient to apply for a waiver, fewer people get them.”

Michigan’s experience demonstrates a way for governments to increase immunization rates without having to address religious or philosophical opposition to vaccines.

For many years, opposition to mandatory childhood vaccines has served as a frequent rallying point for those who see immunizations as interference with nature’s intentions, rebel against them as government meddling in family affairs or raise concerns about their safety.

Vaccine advocates and health professionals regard these views as dangerous, noting that the drugs have dramatically lowered the number of serious childhood illnesses and that studies suggesting they are not safe have been debunked. They also note that vaccines’ proven effectiveness lies in “herd immunity”— the higher the participation rate, the greater the community’s protection against outbreaks of infectious disease.

Many states adopt strategies to curb exemptions “by making applications complicated to fill out or complete,” according to University of Georgia public policy expert W. David Bradford, who studies immunization. Some states require parents to notarize applications or have them certified by a physician before sending them in, and “generally speaking, anything that raises the opportunity cost [of exemptions] works to some degree,” Bradford said. “Michigan took it a step further.”

Increasing the number of vaccinated kids in Michigan, which has a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both legislative houses, took a degree of political finesse.

“Health and Human Services wanted to do something, but the legislative option wasn’t there,” Largent said. Instead, Michigan decided to use a strategy he calls “inconvenience.”

Since 1978, Michigan had required schoolchildren entering kindergarten and middle school to obtain vaccination waiver certificates from county officials. “Some counties allowed you to do it over the phone; in others you mailed in a form and some even let you do it online,” Largent said. But in studying vaccine policy across the country, he noted, “one thing is really clear — health departments that require you to go in and get the waiver have much lower rates.”

Michigan offered the perfect vehicle for introducing inconvenience into the process. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules reviews state agency regulations and, if it takes no action, allows them to go into effect after 15 legislative days. The committee is composed of lawmakers, giving it a legislative imprimatur, but it is not the Legislature itself, thus avoiding the political rancor that can accompany debate on controversial issues.

During the 2013-14 school year, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, Michigan had the fourth-highest rate of children entering kindergarten who had been exempted from vaccinations. The state Health and Human Services officials proposed a simple requirement: Parents seeking vaccine waivers must be briefed in person by a county health educator before a waiver would be granted. The joint committee approved the rule Dec. 11, 2014. It took effect Jan. 1, 2015. 

“We were not aware of the rule until the day it happened,” said Suzanne Waltman, president of Michigan for Vaccine Choice, an anti-vaccine organization. “We thought it was a stealth move.”

The office of Gov. Rick Snyder did not respond directly to requests for comment on the political hazards of vaccine policy. Retired Republican state Sen. John Pappageorge, co-chair of the administrative rules committee in 2014, voted to adopt the rule and described the procedure as a simple one designed to ensure “that implementation is in concurrence with the law.” Republican Rep. Tom McMillin, who was co-chair of the committee at the time and voted against the rule, did not respond to requests for an interview.

In a look at one key metric, before 2015, about 22 percent of Michigan children did not get the fourth round of immunizations for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis that is required by the state. That had fallen to 15 percent one year later, slightly better than the national average.

The Traverse City outbreaks were overshadowed in the national media by a more dramatic measles outbreak in Southern California’s Disneyland, which also occurred over the 2014-15 holidays and ultimately led to 150 cases of the disease. But the states’ responses were quite different.

California’s solution was what Largent calls “eliminationism.” The state Legislature, with Democratic supermajorities, passed a measure doing away with religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions. Passage of the law triggered widespread protests among opponents of vaccines. Besides California, only West Virginia and Mississippi disallow non-medical waivers.

Largent said a small number of children need waivers for medical reasons, usually because of allergies or immune deficiencies. Much larger numbers seek waivers for religious or philosophical reasons.

“The idea was to bring the waiver rate down,” Michigan Health and Human Services spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said. “From the perspective of the general population, vaccinations are recommended. This doesn’t take away choice. It simply ensures that people have education.”

But Largent said most vaccine opponents are not necessarily swayed by arguments in favor of immunization. Instead, “by heightening the burden, you change some of the incentives” for obtaining waivers. “Moral claims and ideology don’t matter as much when it’s inconvenient.”


Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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