Vaccinate Broward

Vaccinate Broward will offer free vaccines and education at Saturday's event at Broward Health locations.

As everyone prepares for the upcoming school year, vaccinations may be on their checklist. Vaccinations are required before students can enroll in school, according to the Florida Department of Health. These vaccinations are given to prevent kids, youth and young adults ages 4 to 20 from getting viruses such as measles, polio and chicken pox.

To help parents, Broward Health, Memorial Healthcare System and Community Care Plan are hosting Vaccinate Broward this Saturday. They will offer vaccinations on-site along with education for guests. They plan to clear up misconceptions about vaccinations.

There is national outbreak of measles, even though the virus was declared eradicated in 2000. Since May 2018, Miami-Dade had three cases and Broward had one in May. All told Florida has had 15 measles cases, the Miami Herald reports. According to a study published in May in Lancet Infectious Diseases, Miami-Dade and Broward are among 10 counties in the nation with the highest risk for a measles outbreak.

“People need education about vaccinations and there isn't a place to get that education,” said Alan Goldsmith, chief administrative officer at Broward Health. “We wanted to provide a symposium for people to get that education and make decisions for themselves.”

Vaccinate Broward will be Saturday, Aug. 3 at all Memorial Primary Care and Broward Health locations in Broward County. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., each location will provide information about vaccinations and offer free vaccination shots.

“The purpose of this is to not only educate parents about vaccinations but offer

vaccinations free of charge to those who could not afford them,” said Goldsmith.

According to the Florida Department of Health, vaccination is the best way to prevent children from contracting 16 different potentially harmful viruses and bacteria such as Hepatitis B and whooping cough, which can put children in the hospital.

The vaccine works by exposing the recipient to a germ, also known as a pathogen. The body’s immune system generates antibodies to fight off the pathogen. If the pathogen makes the recipient sick, some of the antibodies that were created will remain in the body to fight off future infections. If one is exposed to the same pathogen again, the antibodies will recognize it and fight it off.

Vaccinations can be a divided subject for locals. There are parents out there who choose not to get their children vaccinated for certain reasons.

Nick Francis, a father of two who resides in Pembroke Pines, is for the vaccination. He considers it a peace of mind knowing that when his children get sick it’s not an emergency.

“It is a little bit less of a headache because I don't have to worry about my kids every time they are sick,” said Francis. “I have friends who don't get their kids vaccinated and it is an uproar every time their child gets a runny nose.”

Goldsmith said people’s disbelief in vaccinations stems from social media,

“We are a health care system, so we believe in the medicine behind vaccination. There is a lot of information on social media but we want to get rid of some of the myths out there on vaccinations,” said Goldsmith.

Goldsmith and the team are expecting hundreds of families across all locations to attend. The most important thing they want attendees to leave with is information.

“We want people to leave with a real good idea on what vaccinations are and what they do for them or their loved ones,” said Goldsmith. “We want them to feel good about the decisions they make regarding vaccinations.”

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