• The series of five immunizations as an infant, toddler and just before kindergarten, works until the child reaches their “tweens”. It is now recognized that the current vaccine, though safer than the DPT us older folks got, weakens by age 11 or so. The CDC recommends, and many states require, a Tdap booster at age 11 or 12.

    Wisconsin is one of 21 states that allow parent to exempt their children from immunizations based on some sort of personal or philosophical belief. In 2010-2011, 3.8 percent of all kindergartners had such exemptions. Lees than half of the schools in the state had MMR immunization rates over 95% for kindergartners. 84 percent of sixth graders in 2010-2011 had the Tdap booster.

    There is a significant, large pool of children in Wisconsin schools who are not immunized as they should be. Immunization works best when levels approach or exceed 95%. The current pertussis vaccine is 80-90 percent effective, so the more unvaccinated children who have the illness, the chances of infection increase for those immunized.

    Of the top ten states reporting whooping cough cases in 2012, eight are exemption states. Those eight account for 56 percent of all the pertussis cases in the nation. A similar situation occurred in the 2010 outbreak where the leading states were, again, exemption states.

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