Immunizations are important

Florence, Wis. — The purpose of the immunization law is to provide coverage and maintain low rates of vaccine preventable diseases in communities. Vaccination works by introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.

Vaccines contain the germ that cause the disease but they have been killed or weakened to the point that it doesn’t make you sick. This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure disease, vaccines prevent them. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.

To protect students and children from diseases that are preventable by immunization, Wisconsin law requires all students to show that they have received the required immunizations or have signed a waiver. Under Wisconsin law (Section 252.04) “the immunization requirement is waived if the student, if an adult, or the student’s parent, guardian or legal custodian submits a written statement to the school, child care center, or nursery school objecting to the immunization for reasons of health, religion, or personal conviction.”

All 50 states have required vaccinations for students but exemption criteria varies from state to state. All states allow exemptions for medical reasons and most for religious reasons. However, Wisconsin has a growing number of vaccination exemptions for philosophical or personal conviction. The current national outbreak of measles began in a primarily non-vaccinating community.

Overall, the Florence County pertussis outbreak of 2018 showed that individuals who were vaccinated had milder symptoms or no disease after exposure compared to the unvaccinated population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports immunization laws to provide community protection to reduce preventable communicable diseases.

Florence County Health Department can be reached at 715-528-4837, located in the Courthouse at 501 Lake Avenue or visit our website at http://www.florencecountywi.com/ .

The health department is located on the second floor, 501 Lake Avenue in the Florence County Courthouse, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. closed for lunch from 12-12:30. Need health insurance? Visit access.wi.gov to see if you qualify for benefits.