Vaccine requirements become important as the school year approaches in West Michigan

Dr. Giggiano said parents need to check vaccine recommendations annually, and there are some changes for this year.

The perfect pen, or maybe the right binder, might be on the top of your school supply list. Another item for parents to check off is Michigan's vaccine requirements.

"Vaccines are probably the most important public health initiative ever," Dr. Lia Gaggino of Bronson Hospital said. "It has reduced infectious disease to where I feel some people feel kind of complacent."

Dr. Gaggino said parents need to check vaccine recommendations annually, and there are some changes for this year.

"The only thing that has changed is the HPV vaccine for the human papillomavirus, has gone from a course of three, to two," Dr. Gaggino said.

"The recommended age to get the initial one is at 11,” Dr. Gaggino said. “It used to be a course of three, but they've changed that because it's so effective."

In Michigan, students are required to get vaccines for 10 different diseases, and some need multiple doses such as four- to six-year-olds with the DTP vaccine

"Four is the recommended pre-entry into school age for getting vaccines," Dr. Gaggino said. "So, they'll get measles, they get chicken pox, they get tetanus, and they get polio for that entry into elementary school."

According to Dr. Gaggino, some vaccines require more than others.

"Tetanus and meningitis vaccine, manactra, we do that going into middle school, and then there's one at 16," Dr. Gaggino said.

Even if your child got a vaccine last year, he or she may need another dose before the school year

"We're wanting to check our most vulnerable population, so little kids, babies and kids under a year,” Dr. Gaggino said. “So, there is a pretty tight routine because they are immature immune systems they need boosting and that's why they get them so frequently."

Michigan has one of the highest immunization waiver rates in the country, according to the Michigan Department of Health. They also said 12 percent of kids don't get vaccines.

For more information on what vaccines to get, or what documents you need to not have vaccines, and be eligible for school, visit

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