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CDC: Steady number of Wisconsin families pursue waivers to avoid vaccines

CDC: Steady number of Wisconsin families pursue waivers to avoid vaccines

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - While more young students are getting vaccinated nationally, there's a growing trend of children not getting any vaccinations by age two. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a steady number of Wisconsin families seeking exemptions from having their kids vaccinated. 

The report found the most common reason parents might get an exemption from vaccinations for their child is due to philosophical beliefs. But experts warn that, unless your child has other medical concerns, by not getting vaccinated, you're putting other children at the school at risk. 

It's pretty rare that any school has to kick out a student for not getting their vaccinations or signing a waiver but it has happened

"Our district has never had to do that," said Sara Lieurance, school nurse for the School District of La Crosse.

Districts are required to have vaccine information on file or a waiver for at least 99 percent of their students. Otherwise, Lieurance said, the district would be forced to exclude students from coming to class because they wouldn't be in compliance with state standards.

"If there is an outbreak, if measles comes to the community, we can run the reports to figure out who's compliant and who's not," Lieurance said.

School staff would then work to notify those affected of the outbreak or work with the local health department to follow its guidelines. To stay in compliance, parents can receive a medical, religious or personal waiver for their child. Lieurance said the most common is the personal waiver.

"We have very few parents who have chosen to waive all vaccines. It's usually one, two or three, depending on their choice," Lieurance said.

Some parents are not getting the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine for their child after a study claimed the shot was connected to autism.

"This has since been disproved, however, there continues to be the belief that, in the general public, that this is not a good vaccine," said Dr. Charles Peters, consultant pediatrician for Mayo Clinic Health System.

He tries to encourage parents to get the full spectrum of shots. 

"Recognizing that some of these diseases can indeed be very serious," Peters said.

Not only does not getting vaccinated put you at risk, but it affects those who come into contact with you, who may not have had their own vaccinations yet.

"Whether it's very young children in the case of mumps, measles, and rubella or older individuals whose immunity has perhaps waned," Peters said.

The School District of La Crosse School will be holding multiple flu shot clinics on Monday. All students, regardless of their district, can get a free shot. Certain children who need immunizations can also get some of those shots at the clinics. More information is available on the school district's Facebook page.


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