Michigan House Committee Considers Legislation to Curb State's Authority to Regulate Vaccines

On November 30, the Michigan House Oversight Committee heard testimony on both sides of House Bills 5162 and 5163, legislation that seeks to curb Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) authority to promulgate rules for adding new vaccines to the list of those required for school or child care entry.

Healthcare professionals and representatives of MDHHS and Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health highlighted concerns with the bills; among them is the inappropriateness of defaulting to the legislature, rather than physicians and other health experts, for critical public health decisions related to vaccines. Click here to read a recent story in The Detroit News that explains why vaccine opt-outs worry Michigan health officials.

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of immunizations, MAFP joined several other prominent statewide healthcare organizations to form the Parent Information Network (PIN) in 2014. MAFP also supports the IVaccinate campaign, which provides information and tools based on real medical science and research, to help Michigan parents protect their children. Among the tools is a new video series in which a Michigan Family Physician and mother, Michelle Khurana, MD (Northville) explains why she chooses to vaccinate her own children and recommends that her patients do the same.

We encourage members to support the campaign by liking the IVaccinate Facebook page, following the campaign on Twitter and Instagram, and sharing campaign posts and tweets to amplify the message that immunizations are safe and effective in protecting Michigan's children from vaccine-preventable diseases like whooping cough, measles, flu, and more.

Meanwhile, at the national level, AAFP recently signed on to a letter supporting a bill in the Senate that would allocate $607 million to fund vaccines for children and low-income adults and support public education programs that emphasize the role of vaccines in disease prevention. The letter signed by AAFP and 54 other organizations was sent on November 9 to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate subcommittees working on the 2018 appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.