SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Incorrectly filled out forms result in poor, inaccurate Miami-Dade vaccination rate

A task force from Miami-Dade County, Florida, has determined that the reported low vaccination rate for kindergartners for the 2010-2011 school year was the result of a form incorrectly filled out by healthcare providers.

It was originally reported that the vaccination rate of Miami-Dade public school kindergartners was just 76.7 percent for the 2010-2011 school year, much lower than the 91.1 percent statewide average. The task force determined that more than half of children in the county who were granted an exemption on a Florida Department of Health form did not need to be because they already had all the vaccinations required for their ages, the Miami Herald reports.

"For the most part, our kids were in compliance," Mark Zaher, the director of district school operations, said, according to the Miami Herald. "They did receive the shots, they were not a threat to the community, they were not a threat to schools. What we found was the documentation was done incorrectly."

According to the task force, if the county reported a revised vaccination rate to account for the incorrect forms, 91.6 percent of kindergartners would be up to date on their vaccinations. The goal for the state is to have 95 percent of kindergartners and 90 percent of seventh graders completely up to date on their immunizations.

"It's very good to hear that children are being well-immunized in our county, and we'd like to get even better," Jeffrey Brosco, a pediatrician and professor with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, according to the Miami Herald.

The task force has developed multiple strategies in an attempt to improve the county's immunization rates, including a computer program to track students' immunization status in real time and reaching out to healthcare providers to educate them on how to properly fill out the form.