Florida students see lowest vaccination rates in a decade
To prevent the spread of communicable diseases, Florida law requires students entering public and private schools to get a series of vaccinations and provide their immunization records.
The law offers exemptions. But the goal is to have at least 95 percent of students vaccinated.
This year, the numbers fell far short.
The state Department of Health's validation of kindergarten and seventh grade immunization records found the lowest rates of compliance in a decade. It noted:
- 92.9 percent of kindergartners had all required immunizations. Just over 5 percent of these children had improperly certified records, or none at all.
- 90.6 percent of seventh graders had all required immunizations, the same as in 2012, which also was the lowest in a decade. Just over 17 percent of the students had improperly certified records, or none.
The department recommends that schools should not allow students from other states or countries to attend until they provide a valid Florida-issued immunization record. "Instead, refer those students to a local CHD for immunization services, and exclude them from school until compliance is met. Students transferring from another county in Florida may be given 30 days to provide proper immunization documentation."
Last year, when a measles scare had schools worried, some districts said they would ban students without shot records if a case arose in their classrooms.