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Wisconsin health officials concerned over vaccine exemptions

NOW: Wisconsin health officials concerned over vaccine exemptions

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As children head back to school, state health officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated. 

Nearly 50,000 children across the state of Wisconsin have vaccination waivers worrying health officials where immunization rates are relatively low. 

Data from the State Department of Health Services shows immunization rates for 5-6-year-olds is dangerously low in every country including southeastern Wisconsin. 

Health experts say Wisconsin is lucky an outbreak has not yet been reported since surrounding states like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan have had reported cases. 

Dr. Tom Murwin, a pediatrician in Stoughton, adds that because of this it's even more important that children in the state get the vaccines they need. 

"The fact that we don't have it isn't because of anything, I think, that we're doing. It's just luck that we don't have it yet. That's why we need to continue to immunize patients so that we maintain an adequate number of immunized people and protected people so we don't see that spread happen. Or if that spread happens, it's a handful of people and not 50 or 100 or 5,000 people that get the disease," said Dr. Murwin with SSM Health, Dean Medical Group. 

Dr. Murwin says another way to protect from an outbreak is to strengthen vaccination laws. One was introduced this year to eliminate the personal exemption waiver for vaccinations, but it has not been given a public hearing. 

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