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With the new school year around the corner, members of Hillsborough County's Back-to-School Coalition are trying to ensure students get their immunization shots, even if they're not able to afford it.

ROBYN BECK / AFP/Getty Images

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

Four cases of measles have been identified in Florida in the past two weeks, all of which involve travelers.

Two of the cases diagnosed involved international travelers, and the infected people had unknown or no measles vaccine, State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong said in a statement.

The Florida Department of Health reports that so far, no state residents have so far been diagnosed with measles, a disease that is experiencing the second-biggest outbreak in the nation in at least 15 years.

Florida is a major player in widespread influenza reported in 43 states so far this season.

Levels of transmission have reached epidemic proportions, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials say that a mutation in the flu virus may be to blame for the rising number of flu cases this year.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Most kids are heading back to school in Florida next week.  But before they can sit down in a classroom, many will have to sit down in the doctor's office for required vaccinations or a physical. 

 

That presents a dilemma for kids from families who are uninsured or underinsured. Lindsey Hernandez and her children have insurance through Medicaid. But that doesn't mean it's easy or convenient to get health care. At a back-to-school health fair last weekend at St. Petersburg College, four of her children got free physicals.