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Education effort underway supporting immunizations

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. (WXPR) -- A coalition is hoping to increase the number of immunizations across the Northwoods.

Northwoods Immunization Coalition formed in 2005 to provide what they say is more accurate information.

Laurel Dreger at the Vilas County Health Department says county health departments and providers from several Northwoods counties are involved. The group wants to decrease the vaccine preventable diseases in several age groups.  "We focus in on two year olds. We know that by the time children turn two years old they've had their infant immunizations that are recommended. We also focus on adolescent age group. There's a group of immunizations we recommend for the middle schooler or high schooler."

Dreger says they also focus on pregnant women, with immunizations during various stages of gestation. She says adult immunizations include pneumonia, shingles and flu vaccines.

Dreger says in areas where immunization levels have dropped off, there has been a rise in diseases long thought under control.  "Measles outbreaks, mumps outbreaks, whooping cough which is pertussis and chicken pox. Those four diseases were once considered eradicated in the country. However, now, because some people don't vaccinate their children, there are little pockets of outbreaks."

Infant Immunization Week begins April 26.  Dreger says more information is available across the state at county health departments.