Health department encourages parents to get kids immunized sooner

by: Erica Bennett Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Before your child steps foot in a classroom he or she may need to take a trip to the doctor's office. Action News found out, if they're not up to date with immunizations, they won't be allowed in school."

They may hurt a little bit, but they're necessary.

"All these kids getting sick. Parents that can't afford it. I don't want my kid getting sick," said parent Raven Bloomfield.

In the state of Florida, students going into kindergarten must get a physical and be immunized. Seventh graders have to get shots too. Doctors say the problem is, local parents are dragging their feet.

"We're encouraging parents not to wait to the last minute," said Dr. Pauline Rolle, Department of Health physician.

If they do, not only will it create a backlog in doctor's offices, but if your child doesn't have their shots in time, they won't be allowed in class.

Rolle said there's been an uptick of pertussis and measles cases around the state. To help motivate people, they've started a program called "Go to the Head of the Class," which offers physicals for $30 on certain days. She said when in doubt, double check.

"If they're new to the county or their child is just entering school, then they definitely need to make sure they're physical is up to date as well as their immunizations," Rolle said.

Immunizations don't just affect K-12 students. Many colleges and universities require vaccination as well, so you may want to call before you go to campus.