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Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are starting to get wake-up calls. Diseases that had disappeared are once again popping up around Michigan and in other states. There’s no reason for this as ailments such as measles, mumps and whooping cough are 100 percent preventable if children get their shots. For instance, five Traverse City children were recently diagnosed with measles because they hadn’t gotten vaccines.

New state guidelines approved last week, however, should help encourage more parents to vaccinate their kids.

Doctors and other health care leaders were pleased with the change, which calls for more parental education on the benefits of vaccines. Parents can still opt not to vaccinate their children before sending them to school, but they’ll first be given more information about the potential negative health impacts from a local public health office. The new guidelines go into effect Jan. 1.

The medical community has expressed concern that Michigan has the fourth highest vaccination exemption rate in the U.S., meaning that a comparatively large number of youth are at risk for dangerous infectious diseases. Parents should listen to doctors and vaccinate their kids.

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