LANSING, Mich. — The count down for the first day of school has begun in the Duckett-Freeman house.
“I believe its the 28th,” said parent Claretta Duckett-Freeman.
As her kids anxiously wait for the big day, Claretta is getting things in order.
“You gotta get the kids sleep schedule in order, you have to get them new clothes and also get them school supplies,” she said.
But Medical professionals said there’s one more thing on that “back to school preparation list”.
“I really cannot stress enough how important it is to get your kids vaccinated because with doing this, we will be able to prevent diseases from spreading in communities,” said Veronica McNally, president of the Franny Strong Foundation and founder of the I Vaccinate campaign.
State Data shows that “childhood vaccination rates are at their lowest since 2011”.
“The decrease in the vaccine, seems to correspond with the times we were in the pandemic,” said Lansing School District Health Director Susan Wheeler. “People had their kids home more, so that may have delayed getting them vaccinated.”
Wheeler said it’s time for people to get their kids vaccinated. Right now, the district requires some vaccinations such as Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox, and Tetanus.
While those vaccines are required, the COVID vaccine is not. But, wheeler said it is encouraged. Last year the district saw around 1,000 COVID cases among students and staff.
“As we progressed through COVID, the vaccine became available and we saw that people who got the vaccine and also tested for COVID showed very mild symptoms,” Wheeler said.
The district said around 60% of students are considered fully vaccinated for COVID, and while her children have all of the required vaccines, plus the COVID shot, Claretta is unsure if she’ll get them boosted because she’s not sure it's effective.
“When my kids get the Polio vaccine, I know they’re not going to get it, but it’s not the same thing with the Flu or COVID vaccine.