Parents urged to maintain child vaccination schedules despite pandemic

Fewer families getting routine immunizations, health department says

File photo (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Stay-at-home orders and virtual learning meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have also lowered the number of families using immunizations services, local health officials said.

Just because your student isn’t attending in-person school doesn’t mean you should skip routine vaccinations, Duval County health officials said.

“We understand there has been a lot of confusion out there due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Pauline Rolle, Interim Health Officer and Medical Director of the Department of Health in Duval County. “National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect time to set the record straight: it does not matter how or where your child attends school -- they should continue to receive routine childhood vaccinations, not only to protect them but also to protect the community.”

Vaccinations are key to averting outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations, and further strain the health care system, the department said in a news release.

According to county health officials, the best defense against preventable diseases is vaccination. Vaccines help develop the body’s ability to fight germs, which cause certain infectious diseases. Measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, varicella, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, meningococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) are all preventable by vaccine.

Many common childhood and adult diseases are easily spread from one person to another; they are particularly dangerous to very young children and the immunocompromised, who have low resistance to infection, and are more likely to develop serious health complications and, occasionally, death.

DOH-Duval offers vaccinations, and based upon the appropriate age group for when the dosage is most effective, community members are advised to follow the vaccination schedules, below:

To promote social distancing and reduce the likelihood of crowds, an appointment is required for immunizations at the health department; uninsured, Medicaid, and private insurances are accepted. To schedule an appointment, call 904-253-1130.

Visit the DOH-Duval website to see all locations:

Immunizations Clinic Locations:

Center for Women and Children

515 West 6th Street

Jacksonville, Florida 32206

South Jacksonville Immunization Center

3225 University Boulevard

Suite 200

Jacksonville, Florida 32216

Pearl Immunization Center

5322 North Pearl Street

Jacksonville, Florida 32208

Hours of operation: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Walk-ins: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.