Immunizations in Florida elementary schools hit 10-year low

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Dr. Kathy Merritt vaccinates 8 year-old Daniel McCullock with the Pfizer child COVID-19 vaccination at Chapel Hill Pediatrics and Adolescents in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) Gerry Broome/AP

Immunizations in Florida elementary schools hit 10-year low

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The 2021-2022 school year marked a 10-year low in immunizations for Florida elementary school students, according to a recent report by the state’s Department of Health.

The study, which was conducted in September, revealed that 91.7% of the state’s kindergarten students were vaccinated for the year, marking the lowest since the 2010-2011 school year, and 94.3% of seventh graders were properly vaccinated, the lowest since the 2009-2010 school year, when 93.7% were vaccinated.

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The necessary shots were meant to protect students from tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza B, hepatitis B, and polio. The COVID-19 vaccine was not required.

“These are historically all diseases that have caused, in the past, significant mortality and morbidity in children when these diseases were prevalent and we weren’t vaccinating,” Dr. Kathleen Ryan, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at the University of Florida College of Medicine, told the News Service of Florida. “If the immunization rates fall in any one of those areas, we start to see those diseases creep back in.”

The majority of school districts in the state failed to meet the 95% immunization requirement, with just 27% hitting or surpassing the mark. In nine districts, the schools failed to even cross 90%. Duval County had the lowest vaccination rate, with 82.5% of seventh graders receiving all the vaccinations.

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Vaccination rates for children are also down nationwide, with kindergartners facing a 1-percentage-point drop across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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