Editor’s Note: Don’t change vaccine waiver rule

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

If something is working well, just leave it alone. Since a new state rule regarding vaccine waivers took effect a year ago, more parents are getting their children vaccinated.

That’s a positive trend that will lead to a healthier state by preventing the spread of childhood diseases like measles and mumps. Late last month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released data showing a 39 percent decline in vaccine waivers last year.

The state health department’s new rule makes it tougher for parents to get waivers for shots before sending their children to school. Now, if they want a waiver, they must first meet with a health professional, rather than just submitting a form. That additional education has clearly worked in Michigan, which previously had the fourth highest waiver rate in the country.

Yet a Republican lawmaker is trying to reverse the new vaccine rule. Rep. Tom Hooker from Byron Center seems more upset that the health department stepped on his turf than the change itself.

Hooker doesn’t like that the rule makes vaccination exemptions more stringent than current law. “This legislation is not an attack on the Department of Health and Human Services, we are simply seeking to return to the DHHS policy that has existed for the last 40 years,” Hooker said in a statement. “If you want to change the law, the process is through the Legislature and the governor.”

The state’s medical community is pushing hard against this legislation, and it should. Hooker should leave this issue alone for the health of Michigan.