LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan’s health agency is working to make it harder for parents to get out of immunizing their children against contagious diseases.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has rules that take effect Jan. 1 requiring parents to take extra steps in order to get permission to leave their children unprotected.

Parents first have to provide a written statement indicating the religious or philosophical objections to the vaccinations. Parents seeking vaccination waivers will then have to hear from a health worker about vaccines and the diseases they’re intended to prevent.

Parents will also have to sign a form acknowledging they may be putting their own child and other people’s children at risk with the failure to vaccinate.

By signing the waiver, parents acknowledge that their child may be subject to exclusion from school or other programs if the public health authority advises exclusion as a disease control measure.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved the new requirements Thursday.

California, Colorado and Vermont have recently taken similar steps.

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