Published September 11, 2023
Photography by Simply American
At the August 22 Board of Commissioners meeting, a resolution was presented to the Board in support of presenting all vaccine options to county residents instead of only presenting them as mandatory to attend school.
The county health department sent out letters to residents reminding parents to get their children vaccinated before the start of the school year. At the bottom of these letters were the names of the county commissioners, even those who did not support these letters.
Not included in the letter were options to waive the vaccination requirements to attend school, the risks and benefits of each vaccine, the potential side effects of vaccines, or the ingredients in the vaccines.
Three local residents spoke at that meeting, although only one from Tallmadge spoke regarding this resolution and spoke in favor of it. One Wright Township resident spoke about election integrity, and another spoke briefly of support for the local government, most specifically Ottawa Impact commissioners.
The resolution points to the oath taken by commissioners to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan, the right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children, the Michigan law providing exemptions to childhood vaccines for medical, religious, or other reasons, the fact that the Ottawa County Health Department provides waiver appointments, and the value of the ethical standard of fully informed consent regarding both the risks and benefits of vaccines.
The resolution recommends that any Ottawa County promotion of vaccines for school and licensed childcare programs include the full and accurate information regarding available exemptions and waivers. The vaccine waiver sessions should include information on both the risks and benefits of vaccines, a copy of vaccine package inserts, vaccine ingredients, and a link to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data.
“When fully informed consent happens, parents are able to make important decisions on behalf of their child,” said District 11 Commissioner Allison Miedema. “Have you ever examined a chart that shows the vaccine schedule from the 1980s to what it is now? It changed from 22 doses in 1983 to 74 doses in 2021. Why is this resolution important? For me and many others, its just a starting point in setting the trajectory back towards parental choice regarding vaccines. It is vitally important that our health department provides information about all potential risks and benefits. Vaccines do have their place, yet they are not without risk and it is the inherent right of the parent to weigh those risks for their child and make the ultimate decision. I look forward to voting yes on this resolution.” (Miedema spoke at length, and these are just some of her thoughts.)
Parents interested in a vaccine waiver can call the Ottawa County Health Department at (616) 396-5266 to set up an appointment. It is not necessary to bring your child to the appointment, which typically takes about 15 minutes. Waivers are required for each year of preschool, young 5s, kindergarten, 7th grade, and when changing districts.
The resolution passed with a 9–2 vote. The resolution can be found in its entirety on the county website.
The opinions expressed within this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the positions and beliefs of Simply American or its affiliates.