School and health officials urge parents to get their kids in for back-to-school immunizations

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 18:55:51-04

The Palm Beach County School District and the Palm Beach County Health Department are urging parents to start thinking about back-to-school immunizations.

Health department officials say clinics and the county's mobile immunization bus get packed with long lines toward the end of the summer, so now is the best time to take children in for required vaccines.

"If they're not coming with good, required vaccinations on the first day of school, unfortunately it's going to be unlikely that they're going to be able to go to the first day of school," says Palm Beach County Schools spokeswoman Amity Chandler.

Health officials say some parents get around that, however, by claiming a religious exemption.

"Because of that option, there are more kids out there who are not protected," Palm Beach County Immunizations Nurse Deborah Hogan says.

According to the health department, a little more than 2% of children enrolled in public and private schools in Palm Beach County are not vaccinated by their parents' choice.

"You need a certain percentage of kids vaccinated," Hogan says. "We know that statistically and scientifically, and as we drop below that percentage, the risk goes up for those who cannot be protected."

All Palm Beach County health centers offer immunizations. To see view the mobile immunization bus's schedule, click here.