Duval Health Officials Look To Increase Immunization Rates Among Babies

Jul 21, 2016

Duval Health Officials say not enough kids in the county are getting vaccinated — but a new immunization center on the Southside could help change that.


On Thursday Morning, 15-year-old Djellza Zeneli was getting three vaccines: one for tetanus, meningitis and chickenpox.

“I don’t want to take my shot,” she said as the medical professional prepped her arm.

She has to get these before attending a Duval high school.

“I haven’t had one in like four years,” Zeneli  said.

While children are required to be immunized prior to enrolling in school, she’s been living in Germany and wasn’t required to get all of them.  

Duval Medical Director Pauline Rolle said other people don’t get them because of access, or they don’t think it’s important.

“You have a movement where folks feel that vaccines are harmful or my child does not need to get vaccinated,” she said. “So you do have a subset of the population that don’t believe in vaccines.”

Duval County health officials cut a ribbon to officially open the doors to the new Southside Immunization Center.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

In Duval County, just 88 percent of children under the age of 2 are getting vaccinated, but the goal is at least 95 percent.

”One of the diseases that we don’t see anymore is polio,” Rolle said. “‘Why?’ Because we did such a good job of eradicating it through vaccination.

"I would hate to see something like that pop up again just because we chose not to vaccinate.”

She said free kids’ vaccines are now available at the Southside immunization clinic every weekday. There’s also an immunization center Springfield off of North Pearl Street.