School nurses raise concerns over new federal vaccination policySchool nurses in Wisconsin are concerned that a federal change in children’s vaccination policy may delay them from attending class.
By: Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
School nurses in Wisconsin are concerned that a federal change in children’s vaccination policy may delay them from attending class.
Because of federal funding changes, public health departments can no longer vaccinate those with private insurance. Parents are being urged to schedule appointments now with doctors to get the shots required by Wisconsin law.
Louise Wilson, the health supervisor in the Beaver Dam School District and president of Wisconsin Association of School Nurses, says children in kindergarten, sixth grade and 12th grade are most likely to need vaccines. “Parents of those children should particularly pay attention to what's needed,“ she says.
Students have to be immunized within 30 days after school starts or be excluded from class. There are exceptions for religious and medical reasons, and personal conviction. The latter category accounts for 4 percent of students who aren't vaccinated.
State health officials say 91 percent of students get all their shots. But some parts of the state are lagging. Ann Lewandowski is with the Southern Wisconsin Immunization Consortium. According to records from insurers, only 67 percent of school age children in the consortium's seven counties are getting needed shots. Lewandowski says they don't know why so one insurer is surveying its members to find out.
“I'd also like to work some local school districts if they're willing to ask their parents why they are choosing not vaccinate,” says Lewandowski.
Wisconsin is one of 20 states that give conviction waivers to parents who do not want their school children to get vaccinated.