School staff as vaccine advocates: Perspectives on vaccine mandates and the student registration process

Mark C. Navin, Aaron M. Scherer, Ethan Bradley, Katie Attwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, several states in the US have made it more difficult to receive nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates in the hope of better orienting parents towards vaccination. However, little is known about how public-facing school staff implement and enforce mandate policies, including why or how often they steer parents towards nonmedical exemptions. This study focused on Michigan, which has recently added an additional burden for families seeking nonmedical exemptions. We used an anonymous online survey to assess Michigan public-school employees (n = 157) about their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding Michigan's school enrolment vaccine mandate policy. Our main conclusions are that frontline school staff are generally knowledgeable about vaccines and immunization policy, but are at best ambivalent about their role in immunization governance, believing that other agents should be responsible for ensuring that children are vaccinated. Furthermore, some respondents indicated low vaccine confidence, which was associated with increased ambivalence about, or opposition to, their role in immunization governance. As more jurisdictions within and beyond the US consider introducing or tightening childhood vaccine mandates, it is increasingly important to understand how these policies can be improved by attending to the attitudes and roles of relevant frontline actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1175
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023


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