2019-2020 Influenza Season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 15 million people in the U.S. have gotten sick with flu. More than 150,000 Americans have been hospitalized, and more than 8,000 people have died from their infection.

  • Flu vaccines are still the best way to protect yourself and loved ones. And it is not too late to get one.
  • Handwashing continues to be one of the best strategies for avoiding infections. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. CDC has a great new section on their website about hand washing (Clean Hands Save Lives)
  • Practice social distancing when you need to—yes, that means staying home when you are sick! Keep your children home from school and activities if they are ill. We get it, it can be difficult. Think of keeping your co-workers and their families healthy the way you want them to think about keeping you and yours in good health. Employers can help too by looking at what they can do to make it easier for people to stay healthy, such as providing onsite influenza vaccination clinics, flexible work schedules, working from home, paid leave, etc.

But shouldn’t I be worried about coronavirus?

The risk of contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) remains low in Wisconsin. COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of influenza (e.g., fever, cough, or sore throat), and the outbreak is occurring during a time of year when respiratory illnesses from influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and other respiratory viruses are highly prevalent.

While this international outbreak is rapidly changing, we want to make sure our communities are reminded about the existing risks that influenza presents right now in the United States and the simple steps that can assist with avoiding many respiratory illnesses as outlined above. To prevent influenza, all persons aged 6 months or older should receive an annual influenza vaccine, and vaccination is still available and effective in helping to prevent influenza.

You can learn more about COVID-19 on our webpage.

See our latest Wisconsin Respiratory Report.

Public Hearing Scheduled Relating to Immunization of Students (Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 144)

A public hearing for Clearinghouse Rule 19-079 (Wis. Admin Code ch. DHS 144), which relates to immunization of students in Wisconsin schools, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 10 a.m. The hearing is being held by the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics at the State Capitol building, room 300, Northeast in Madison, WI.

The proposed changes include:

  • Changing the current Tdap requirement from 6th to 7th grade.
  • Adding a requirement for meningococcal vaccine for 7th and 12th grade.
  • Adding or updating outbreak definitions for selected vaccine preventable diseases.
  • Requiring clinician verification of chickenpox (varicella).
  • Modifying reporting of the School Report to be in alignment with the process for child care.
  • Removing outdated language and text.

The publicly available rule text, as well as additional information, can be found on the State Legislation website.

Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin-Event

Immunization Summit: Supporting access expansion and vaccination efficiency in clinics and communities. Wednesday, February 26, 2020, from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Glacier Canyon Lodge, Wisconsin Dells.

2020 ACIP Vaccine Schedules Updated

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)–the advisory group to CDC–released the 2020 Vaccine Schedule. Please print and share the schedule with your clinic staff and make sure everyone is aware of the updates.

Talking about Vaccines with Dr. Stanley Plotkin

A series of videos have been posted on YouTube. In each one- to two-minute video, Dr. Plotkin from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) answers a question about vaccine science: