Letters to the Editor

As school begins, for healthy students, immunization is key

This month, Florida’s families begin the routine of getting ready for the new school year. Pencils will be sharpened, first-day outfits will be selected, and nervous energy will be ever-present.

As parents and children prepare to return to classrooms across our state, your Florida Department of Health remains focused on maintaining the good health of students in every school and their communities.

At the department, our mission is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in our state.

This mission begins with our children. Our goal is to reduce the obstacles that keep students from achieving the brightest futures possible.

Through our immunization services, we are working to keep students healthy so they can attend school without interruption and focus on learning.

Immunizations are required to enroll in any Florida school. Back-to-school vaccinations help protect Florida’s children and families from the spread of contagious diseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough.

Vaccines help the body to recognize and fight preventable diseases and are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent serious illness.

Every year, we see incredible success through immunization efforts. Healthy kids miss less school and in turn, the parents of healthy children miss less work. Even more importantly, because of immunizations, children aren’t dying from these damaging infectious diseases, and our communities with vulnerable patients are safer.

The statewide immunization coverage rate for children entering kindergarten last school year was 93.3 percent, representing nearly 230,000 students.

I encourage you to schedule an immunization visit with your health care professional or county health department clinic. Florida participates in the Vaccines for Children Program, a federally funded immunization program that provides vaccines to eligible children, ages 0 through 18 years of age, and at no cost to families. We are committed to give Florida’s children access to this life-saving preventive tool.

Immunizations provide the protection necessary to ensure growth and progress in Florida’s communities.

By ensuring our kids and parents stay healthy, we promote the best living for people in Florida.

Protect your family and the lives of those around you today through proper vaccination.

John Armstrong, Florida’s Surgeon General, Tallahassee

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