New vaccination rules go into effect at health departments
Flu, whooping cough shots exempt from federal mandate
Parents whose health insurance covers vaccinations are no longer able to take their children to their local health department for immunizations. New federal regulations now require parents to take their children to their private healthcare provider.
Pertussis and flu vaccine are the exception to the rule, and can still be obtained at local health departments regardless of insurance coverage.
Public health officials want families to know they are still here to serve.
"We feel that immunization coverage is one of the most important things that we do to prevent disease," said Susan Shepeard, health officer with the Greendale Public Health Department. "We help children with what they need. Even if we're not going to give vaccines to all of the children, we're here to offer assistance."
Parents whose kids can no longer be vaccinated through a health department can still make use of the service as a place to get information about what types of vaccinations their children need, who can provide the vaccine and how to set up vaccinations through their insurance.
And, the mandate doesn't apply to everyone.
Children who are uninsured or underinsured or who are covered by Badgercare can continue to get their vaccinations through their local health department.
The Centers for Disease Control can add vaccinations to the list of those that local health departments can give. For example, if another H1N1 outbreak occurs, the CDC could add H1N1 to the list of exempt vaccinations.
The federal mandate went into effect Monday.
In Greendale, parents received a notice in late September urging them to get their children immunized.
Greendale historically has had a high percentage of vaccinated children. The latest data shows that 73 percent of the population is vaccinated, with a 93 percent rate for school-age children.
Shepeard said that she didn't know if the new mandate would affect vaccination percentages, adding: "We were an easy, convenient way for people to get their vaccines. We know a lot of these parents from when their children are born and still want to keep that connection with the families. We hope this transition won't change that."
There are 2,648 children in the Greendale School District. Shepeard believes that roughly 35 percent will need to go to their private insurance to get vaccinations. This means that roughly 900 children won't be able to get their vaccinations from the Greendale Health Department.
Shepeard said: "Most families take their children to their doctor. Parents are taking their kids in because there are other checkups that need to be done. We give more shots to adults than to children."
The mandate doesn't affect adults.
Greendale Health Department
5650 Parking St.
Hales Corners Health Department
5885 S. 116th St.
Franklin Health Department
9229 W. Loomis Road
Oak Creek Health Department
8640 S. Howell Avenue
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