When it comes to getting the flu shot, there’s lots of room for improvement in Wisconsin. The state did poorly, for the number of people vaccinated during the 2012-2013 flu season. “We could be ranked a whole lot better,” said the Dr. John Tempte of the UW Department of Family Medicine. “We are currently ranked 44th in the nation . . . quite a bit below Minnesota and Iowa.” That’s according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control
Temte, who chairs the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, notes that the vaccine is a very safe and effective tool to prevent influenza. But influenza is still one of the leading causes preventable hospitalization and death in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin does do better than most states in numbers of children and health care professionals who get the shot, but Tempte says the overall rate remains too low. “When we have lower rates of coverage, we really open the door for much more of this virus to get within our population and spread, causing the havoc it tends to cause,” said Temte, who also chairs the advisory board for the State Department of Health Services Immunization Program.