Florida health officials are reminding parents and caretakers they can get kids’ back-to-school vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs — with or without insurance. All Florida counties offer the shots.

Vaccine progress is stalling.

That's the message from a new report issued by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The report focuses on the DTP vaccine — the essential vaccine that protects kids against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) and that was first licensed in 1949.

Bay County health officials are offering a two week immunization clinic ahead of students returning to school.  

In a world increasingly dominated by social media and cell phones, sometimes a simple letter home can make a difference when it comes to making sure students have their important immunizations.

That's the finding of research conducted by USF College of Public Health’s Dr. Jill Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.

Rising Number Of Florida Children Skipping Out On Shots

Apr 25, 2016
The Associated Press

The number of children showing up to school with their required shots is dropping according to the Florida Department of Health.

New data from Florida's Department of Health shows 93.3 percent of Florida's kindergarten students have been immunized.

That immunization rate falls a bit short of the state's goal to have 95 percent of all kindergarten students immunized for diseases such as polio and measles. But it's the highest overall rate since 2007.

The Florida Department of Health report also shows that 40 of the state's 67 counties have rates that meet or exceed the 95 percent goal.
US Marine Corps, via Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

School’s back in session for about 3 million young Floridians. They’re settling back into the school year routine -- sharing notes, trading numbers and swapping germs.

But, as any parent knows, with school comes disease. And doctors say vaccinating kids is the best way to prevent runny noses from turning into something more serious.

“The whole idea behind giving vaccines is prevention, because if we can prevent a disease then you don’t end up in the hospital and you don’t end up dying from the diseases,” said Dr. David Berman, a Clearwater pediatrician.

Michael Wilson / Lakeland Ledger

Even though the CDC says the HPV vaccination is even more effective than expected, many parents still aren’t getting their children vaccinated. Doctors say cost can be issue, since insurance doesn’t always cover the series of the three shots, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Other parents simply opt out of all vaccines for their children. Meanwhile, doctors insist the vaccine is safe, and is the key to preventing thousands of cases of cervical cancer. 

The Hallmark card from Gov. Rick Scott and his wife won’t just welcome a new baby -- it also has a tear-off growth chart and the CDC’s immunization schedule to remind parents to get their child vaccinated.

Nobody likes to see a baby in pain. But it's been surprisingly hard for doctors to figure out how to make shots and other medical procedures hurt less.

The solution might be as simple as giving a baby a bit of sugar water before the shot. Or it might not be so simple at all.

How do we know when a baby's hurting? A parent might be able to tell the difference between a cry of pain, the wet diaper cry, and the boy I'm tired cry. Doctors and nurses lack that intimate knowledge.