Whitmer declares August ‘immunization awareness month’

    Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are displayed on a counter at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 26, 2015 | Photo by Illustration Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    In light of recent outbreaks of preventable infectious diseases like measles and Hepatitis A, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared August “immunization awareness month” in Michigan.

    A measles vaccination
    India Ampah holds her son, Keon Lockhart, 12 months old, as pediatrician Amanda Porro M.D. administers a measles vaccination. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    A statement from the governor’s office Monday said: “The goal of Immunization Awareness Month is to educate the public on the safety of vaccines and ensure Michiganders are up to date on their vaccinations in order to prevent the continued spread of contagious and preventable disease.”

    In that statement, Whitmer said, “Michigan is 29th in the nation for vaccine coverage, and I know we can do better.”

    Earlier this year, an outbreak of measles hit the state. Oakland County, where the outbreak was mostly centered, ultimately spent more than $200,000 fighting it. The county finally declared the outbreak over in late June.

    elder
    Brian Elder | House Democrats photo

    That outbreak inspired state Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) to introduce a bill that requires all state schools to post on their website and every entrance of their building if more than 5% of their students are unvaccinated. That bill is still with the House Committee on Health Policy.

    In her statement announcing the new immunization awareness month, Whitmer said she encourages all the state’s residents to “take this time to educate themselves on the importance of immunizations to protect our overall public health and keep our families safe.”

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson covers local government, education, health care and the social safety net, and LGBTQ issues. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington, and before that covered local politics in Chicago. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He enjoys film, the Detroit Pistons and his cat. He once competed in the National Spelling Bee, but was eliminated before any potential ESPN appearances.

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