As immunization rates across the country drop, and outbreaks of measles and other illnesses that vaccines can prevent are popping up, Franklin County is glad to have no such problem.
While the county health department is still waiting on the Florida annual immunization assessment results for this school year - part of a report based on the compulsory immunization status of all children attending kindergarten and seventh grades - the numbers for the last school year were good.
Sarah Hinds, director of the Florida Department of Health in Franklin County, said results for the 2017-18 school year, for students in both public and private schools, showed a 99.2 percent vaccination rate for Kindergarteners, and a 97.9 percent rate for seventh graders. Both are well above the state’s goal of 95 percent.
She said in 2018, the health department, both at its offices and in the schools, provided 845 vaccines to 446 children ages 3-18, ranging from pre-Kindergartners to 12th graders. She said currently, the parents of five children have obtained religious exemptions to the vaccines.
“We work closely with Franklin schools to monitor immunization compliance in the school system,” said Hinds.
Parents of kindergartners and 7th graders are encouraged to review their children’s immunization record to ensure they are ready for the upcoming school year. Students entering college are also encouraged to ensure their immunizations are up to date.
Hinds said vaccines required for children entering preschool and grades K-12 cover diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella (chickenpox) and hepatitis B. Students entering college should check with the health services at their college regarding immunization requirements.
Hinds also noted that Florida SHOTS is a free, statewide, centralized online immunization registry that helps health care providers, parents, and schools keep track of immunization records to ensure all patients receive the vaccinations needed to protect them from dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases. The registry makes it easier to keep up with a child’s immunization history, even when moving or switching doctors, and is endorsed by the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, Florida Association of Health Plans, Inc., Florida Medical Association, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, and the Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.
You can visit ImmunizeFlorida.org to learn more about immunizations your child may need or call the county health department, at 653-2111 or 687-4121, to find out locations and times for immunization services available near you.