No matter what your age, it’s a good idea to check your vaccination status.
That’s according to Winneshiek County Public Health (WCPH) R.N.s Jamie Wagner and Nancy Sacquitne, who said the start of the school year is a good reminder for everyone.
A variety of local doctors offices and pharmacies offer vaccines, as does WCPH.
In order to receive vaccinations from WCPH, a resident needs to be either enrolled in Medicaid, be non-insured or have insurance which does not cover vaccinations.
“If anyone has questions about their vaccination status, they can call us at 563-382-4848 and we can look it up for them,” said Wagner.

School-age children
There are a number of childhood vaccinations required for children entering licensed daycare centers and other schools.
Vaccines are typically given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
For entry into kindergarten, children must have the TDAP-IM, IPV, MMR and varicella.
Seventh graders are required to have a TDAP and meningitis vaccine, and 12th graders who have not had a meningitis vaccine will need that plus a booster. Anyone who has received the meningitis vaccine before they turned 16, also will need a booster.
Wagner said she will be doing a countywide vaccination audit in October, at which time all students will need to be in compliance.
“It depends on the school, but some schools may say your child can’t go if they haven’t been vaccinated,” said Wagner.

Other vaccines
Sacquitne said WCPH also offers vaccines for teens, including HPV (human papillomavirus) and hepatitis.
“The Hepatitis B vaccine is a good idea before sending kids off to college, because of their close proximity to others while living in dormitories,” said Sacquitne.
Sacquitne also suggested parents may want to begin the HPV between ages 11 and 14, to make sure their children are immunized against this sexually transmitted disease they could be exposed to later in life.

Adults also
Sacquitne added there are a few adult vaccines, such as tetanus and TDAP, that people will want to make sure they keep current.
“We recommend all adults check their own vaccination status. They can call us and we can help them,” she said.
She also recommended people traveling outside the country consider getting a Hepatitis A vaccine.
“A travel nurse is a good resource for what you need if you plan to travel,” she said.
Travel inquiries can be answered by calling Gundersen at 608-782-7300 or the Mayo Clinic at 507-538-3270.

Herd immunity
The nurses said although some have expressed concerns about the safety of vaccines, there is science to back up their effectiveness. In addition, the more people who get vaccinated, the less of a chance a disease has to take hold on the general population.
“In the 1950s, people didn’t go to movies or pools for fear of getting polio. In the 1980s, over 400 infants died of pertussis. Because of vaccines, we had eradicated some of these diseases, but some are now coming back because people are failing to get vaccinated,” said Sacquitne.
“In other countries, there is a resurgence of polio. If we have people who aren’t vaccinated traveling abroad, that puts everyone at risk,” said Sacquitne.
Wagner added the scheduling of vaccines has been studied by the Centers for Disease Control to be proven safe and effective.
“Vaccines are safe. They do not cause autism. The previous study that showed that was found faulty and that doctor had his medical license taken away,” said Wagner.

Use caution
Sacquitne said in a world where not everyone is receiving vaccines, people also need to be more cautious about human contact with babies and people who may have compromised immune systems.
“People have to learn to quit kissing babies under the age of 1. They are at a high risk for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and it can kill them,” she said.

More info
For more information about what vaccinations are available, call WCPH at 563-382-4848.