Health officials worried about vaccination status of young children

Published: April 25, 2022 7:03 AM EDT
Updated: April 25, 2022 7:23 AM EDT

Fewer kindergartners were enrolled in school last school year than in 2019, and health authorities are concerned there is no way to know whether many are vaccinated against common diseases like measles.

During the last school year, enrollment for children in kindergarten was about 10% lower than the year before, and a look at some of the districts in our area shows that number checks out.

Comparing the September enrollment numbers for the 2020-2021 school year at public schools across Collier County to the year before shows 355 fewer kindergartners. This concerns health leaders because if any of those children were homeschooled for kindergarten and then entered first grade this school year, they don’t have data on whether or not those children received their vaccines for common diseases like measles.

A Florida health requirement says each student must have a Florida certification of immunization on file. Charlotte County health leaders say that last year they saw a higher rate of delays with child immunizations and they suspect that it was due to homeschooling and children moving to other areas. Leaders with the School District of Lee County say their enrollment numbers suggest that a good number of students who were not enrolled in kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year did enroll for first grade in 2021.