BOH welcomes new member, talks vaccinations
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
The Henry County Board of Health now has a new board member, and is now functioning as a full board once again.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Henry County Board of Health officially introduced Mt. Pleasant local, Harold (Buzz) Bezoni, who would be replacing former board member, Tom Miller.
“I am very happy to be here,” said Bezoni, a former small-business owner in Mt. Pleasant. “I think the board is already doing great things and I am looking forward to working with you all.”
With Bezoni’s Board of Health membership approved, the board jumped straight into their agenda, which was light for the month of January. At the top of their list was a review of a 2016 audit showing the status of school vaccinations being done in the county. According to reports, the majority of schools in Henry County have an 80 percent or higher vaccine compliance rate, which the board was pleased with. However, especially with regard to home school programs, the board felt some improvement could still be made.
“If students are not immunized properly as the state requires, and they do not have a waiver, they should not be in the school system,” said board member, Rose Lauer. “For homeschool kids, it’s not an issue from a school or state perspective unless they are coming to school for certain classes or band, and so on.”
By state regulations, waivers from vaccinations can be made for either religious or medical reasons. Both require official documentation.
According to Patti Sallee, Henry County Public Health Director, it’s up to school nurses to coordinate with parents to make sure students attending the school are either up-to-date with vaccinations or that they have the proper vaccination waivers.
“On our end, we want to send public health nurses to the schools to work in the school systems and see if we can help out in any way,” said Sallee, who said that while compliance rates are overall doing well, there is always room for improvement. “I think we can also market ourselves better in terms of the vaccination clinics we offer and better educate the public on why vaccination is something the state promotes.”
The board agreed with Sallee, saying that looking into better promoting the services of the public health department would always be wise.
Moving on to other business, the board:
• Approved officer elections of Rose Lauer, board chair; Dr. Robert Welander, board vice-chair; and Dr. Kent Metcalf, board secretary.
• Approved minor policy reviews and revisions.
• Reviewed an update from Sallee on the current status of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Request for Proposal (PHEP RFP), which is close to being finalized by Henry County and the other various local counties involved in the proposal process.
Following a short review of the board’s financials, the board adjourned.
The Henry County Board of Health will meet again on Feb. 28, 2017, at noon, at the Henry County Health Center Public Health Conference Room.