LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Ahead of the new school year, the state’s top public health leaders issue a warning as the number of child vaccinations in Michigan is the lowest since 2011. 

“I urge parents to put immunizations at the top of their back-to-school list,” Franny Strong Foundation president and I Vaccinate campaign founder, Veronica McNally said. 

McNally said she knows first-hand how devastating a vaccine-preventable disease can be after her infant daughter passed away from whooping cough back in 20-12.

“These diseases are real, and they circulate in our communities. Vaccines work and they are safe and effective,” McNally said. 

New data shows that vaccination rates for children 19 to 36 months old decreased at an alarming rate.

“In 2023, only 66.5% of children between the ages of 19 to 36 months had completed their recommended dose of primary vaccine and that’s compared to over 75% in 2017,” MDHHS Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said. 

Dr. Bagdasarian said that while there has been some hesitation when it comes to getting kids vaccinated, it’s important that parents are having open conversations with their child’s doctor to clear up any misinformation or disinformation around vaccines.

“We want to make sure that children are up to date with their vaccines before going back to school,” Dr. Bagdasarian said.

Officials also said they are keeping a close eye on vaccination rates in Michigan schools is important.