News Story

State’s medical officer ties school openings to COVID vaccinations

Warning comes after CDC says vaccinations won’t prevent infections

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive, might be creating confusion for parents about the COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s top doctor says that children as young as five should get vaccinated, citing concerns about possible school-based outbreaks this fall. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in January that the vaccine does not prevent transmission of the COVID virus.

Bagdasarian was quoted in an MLive story about students’ low vaccination rates. “We will not be able to keep kids in schools, we will not be able to stop outbreaks from happening and school closures from happening with vaccine uptake rates that are simply that low,” she said. “We are simply not where we need to be in terms of protecting those communities.”

Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, offers what appears to be of a different view. “Our vaccines are working exceptionally well … but what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission,” according to MSN. Bagdasarian suggests that if children are not vaccinated against COVID-19, more outbreaks will happen in schools.

Bagdasarian said in a Detroit Free Press interview, “We trust the scientists at the CDC," she said. "The intent was always to adopt the CDC guidelines.” Bagdasarian did not reply to an email from Michigan Capitol Confidential asking for clarification.

Seven children in the state died of COVID-19 in 2021, which is 0.04% of all COVID deaths here, according to Michigan’s vital statistics. It is unclear if any of those deaths involved other medical conditions. The same year, 284 children died of other causes, making COVID the cause of 2% of childhood deaths in the state.

Two children have died of COVID-19 this year, and 90 have died from other causes.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.