Chippewa County (WQOW) - Back to school vaccination numbers were down in Chippewa County compared to this time one year ago.
After hundreds of measles cases across the U.S. were reported to the Center for Disease Control over the 2014-2015 school year, the most recent measles outbreak brought attention to the debate of whether or not to vaccinate.
Both the Eau Claire and Chippewa County Health Departments looked at the number of 5-year-olds who have their vaccinations because that's typically a time when kids start school.
Eau Claire County said to date, almost 80 percent had their vaccinations, and that's the same compared to last year. In Chippewa County, less than a third have had theirs, which is down from last year.
Both departments said it is important to take these numbers with a grain of salt. The deadline for vaccinating school children is early October, and the measles vaccination does not have to be complete until a child is 6-year-olds.
Overall, the Eau Claire County Health Department said they did see a 1 percent increase in all school-age kids receiving their vaccines.
"More than likely it was because of the outbreaks and the media covering the outbreaks last year," Eau Claire County Public Health Nurse Patricia Reis said. "It kind of brought it to the forefront that these diseases are still possible to get. They are just a plane ride away."
The Chippewa County Health Department said by the time students hit their teens, 83 to 93 percent of vaccinations are completed in the county.
Both health departments encouraged parents to start setting appointments now to get those vaccinations done in time. The Eau Claire and Chippewa County Health Departments do have appointment openings for those who don't have insurance.
The Wisconsin Student Immunization Law requires that all students through grade 12 meet a minimum number of required immunizations to enter school. Those requirements can only be waived for health, religious reasons, or personal conviction.
The Wisconsin Immunization Registry can be used to see if a child's vaccinations are up to date.