Michigan’s Vaccination Debate and Medical Neglect – What You Need to Know

Law gavel depicting Michigan's vaccination debate and medical neglect.

Did you know that Michigan has one of the highest rates of unvaccinated kids in the country?

Whether you have chosen to vaccinate or not, it seems like this has become one of the most hotly contested debates in the country. Each side of the debate is claiming the other is endangering lives.

However, do you know the law surrounding vaccines?

The chances are good that if you have children, you have chosen not to vaccinate, you do know the law.

But if you haven’t yet decided, or if you’ve changed your mind you probably want to know if you can get in trouble with the law if you choose not to vaccinate your kids.

How would this private medical decision become a matter for the law?

Many parents may be afraid of being charged with medical neglect for making an informed decision not to vaccinate.

Here’s what constitutes medical neglect in the eye of Michigan law:

Medical Neglect

According to Children’s Protective Services (CPS), child neglect is defined as when a child’s welfare is harmed or threatened through the failure to provide enough:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Or medical care.

It’s also neglect to put a child in unreasonable risk or fail to intervene or eliminate a risk when you know about or should know about the risk.

This law applies to parents, legal guardians, or any other person responsible for the child’s health and welfare.

Does Michigan Law Require Vaccination?

The short answer is no.

Michigan law does not require parents to vaccinate their kids. However, you according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services requirements include:

  • Receiving education about the benefits of vaccination and the risks of disease from a county health department before obtaining the certified nonmedical waiver form through the Local Health Department.

Usually, this needs to be done before your kids start school. That is how we know Michigan has one of the highest rates of unvaccinated kids in the country.

This is because Michigan has one of the highest rates of vaccine waivers for kids in public school.

To attend school, each child must be vaccinated or have obtained a vaccine waiver from the health department before enrolling.

What Reason do I Need to Give for Vaccination Exemption?

If you have made an informed decision not to vaccinate, you know what those reasons are.

However, are they acceptable to the state of Michigan?

The law allows parents to waive vaccines because of a religious or philosophical belief that makes vaccines unacceptable to them. It’s considered a non-medical exemption.

Children who have received one dose and will receive a second dose can be accepted as long as they receive their second dose on time.

In addition, children who have a medical contraindication for vaccination can obtain a medical waiver from their doctor.

Can You be Accused of Medical Neglect for Non-vaccination?

It is not against the law, as we have shown, not to vaccinate your child in Michigan.

As long as you follow the procedure outlined in Michigan law and get the right waiver from the health department before enrolling your child in school, you are doing everything in your power to comply with the law while following your conscience.

However, it doesn’t mean someone can’t accuse you of medical neglect and get Children’s Protective Services (CPS) involved.

CPS can get involved whether you have done something against the law or not, and it can be challenging once CPS gets involved.

Check out the Michigan government website to see a full list of mandated reporters. These are people who can get legal consequences themselves for failing to report instances of child abuse and neglect.

If Children’s Protective Services does get involved, know your rights, treat the accusation seriously, and be ready to defend yourself.

Contact Family Law Attorney, David J. Kramer

You have the legal right not to vaccinate your child in Michigan.

If you are falsely accused of medical neglect and someone calls CPS on you, it’s imperative that you contact a family law attorney familiar with dealing with CPS immediately.

Start fighting for your family and your rights.

Let’s Get Started