Community Immunity: A Campaign to Keep the Community Healthy

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 6:53am

Local Health Care Organizations & Public Health Come Together to Increase Immunizations and Keep Dane County Healthy

Over the next couple of months you may see some familiar faces on the sides of Madison Metro buses or on posters throughout the community. The Dane County Immunization Coalition is launching a new immunization awareness campaign focused on "Community Immunity".

"Simply put, vaccines are a way to keep ourselves healthy and also protect the people around us, who may not be immune" says Diane McHugh of the Dane County Immunization Coalition. "When most people in the community get immunized, diseases can't spread, and that keeps the community healthy. We protect people who may not be able to be immunized, such as newborns, and people with weak immune systems from advanced age, disease or medications."

"Vaccines are important for everyone including moms and dads, child care providers, teachers, healthcare providers, grandmas and grandpas, friends, and strangers to keep the whole community healthy. This is why the Coalition urges you to do your part, get your shots, and keep YOUR community healthy," emphasized McHugh.

The campaign is kicking off just as the flu season is getting a particularly early start with four flu-related deaths and 26 hospitalizations already reported in Wisconsin. The state has also been experiencing a high number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases with 597 cases in Dane County, through November, compared to an average of 25 per year in 2006-2009, when there was no outbreak occurring.

With pertussis, infants are the most vulnerable because they are too young to be immunized. The best way to protect them is to immunize people who are around the infant, like family, friends, day care providers and health care providers.
"The same is true for older adults who are vulnerable to the flu," says McHugh. "When more people get vaccinated for the flu, less flu can spread through the community and threaten the lives of older adults." Last year only 36% of adults got the flu vaccine in Dane County.

Vaccines prevent the spread of many diseases, not just the flu or pertussis, which is why the Dane County Immunization Coalition would like to remind people to stay up-to-date on all vaccines. Check with your doctor if you have any questions. If you do not have insurance, contact Public Health-Madison and Dane County for vaccines available or check the website at

The ‘Community Immunity' campaign was made possible thanks to the support of Dean Clinic, Group Health Cooperative, Meriter, Physicians Plus, St. Mary's Hospital, Unity, UW Health, and Public Health -Madison & Dane County. A special thanks to UW Health for their help with creative design and to the community leaders and residents for being a part of the campaign.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Diane McHugh at 608-243-0393 or at 608-235-4072or

The Dane County Immunization Coalition consists of representatives from public and private health care providers, Public Health, health insurance plans, service organizations, schools, vaccine companies and other interested parties. The goal of the Coalition is to ensure that all residents of Dane County are appropriately immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. See the Coalition's website at




  • Diane McHugh, DCIC Coordinator(608) 243-0393/235
  • Cheryl Robinson (608) 243-0401
  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302