Local health officials encourage children get vaccinated

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In the Eau Claire area more than eight percent of students K-12 in public schools have not met the minimum vaccination requirements according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Local health officials say that number could be lower.

"What we worry about is that if people start backing off on vaccines, diseases are going to spread throughout our communities more and we're going to go back on all the progress we've made over the years in eradicating some diseases," said Eau Claire City-County Health Department Public Health Nurse Allison Gosbin.

In the Chippewa Valley there are reported cases of Whooping Cough, which there is a vaccine available.

Health officials say in these recent cases, they believe the children were not up to date on their immunizations.

"It's not protecting one individual either. When they get immunizations they're also protecting their community, their friends, their family. And some of those people will be at a higher risk because they might not have as strong immune systems," explained Gosbin.

While some community members are still hesitant about getting their children vaccinated, Gosbin says the vaccines have vastly improved over the years.

She says while the number of vaccines has increased, the risk of complications has gone down.

"With those three vaccines in the '60s, they were exposed to 3,200 agents in those three vaccines," says Gosbin. "But these days the vaccine process has been improved and now in the whole series of childhood vaccines, children are only exposed to 130 to 140 agents."

Some diseases with vaccines include Polio, Measles, Whooping Cough, among others.

For public schools in Wisconsin, there are six different vaccines required for students to meet the minimum requirements.