WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - Broward County Public Schools are providing protection to children and their families after several students got sick with measles at Manatee Bay Elementary School.

Medical personnel provided free vaccinations to students at the school, Wednesday afternoon.

Parents and students spoke with 7News after classes let out.

“I think it’s a great step for those that hadn’t contemplated or hadn’t vaccinated their kids before,” said parent Oscar Perez-Aybar.

“Yeah, we’re kind of worried, but the kids are vaccinated, so everything should be fine,” said another parent.

“It’s kind of worrying, but since my brother and me have the vaccines, but like they say, hand sanitizer, no touching,” said student Emilia Agudelo.

According to the district, roughly 97% of the school is vaccinated against measles.

“I’m a pediatrician, so I think it’s very important we continue to vaccinate our children,” said a parent.

But less than three dozen students are not vaccinated.

“Currently, there are 33 of 1,067 Manatee Bay students that do not have an MMR vaccine for various reasons,” said Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata.

The outbreak of measles at the school was first reported on Friday after one student contracted the disease. That number then increased to four students over Presidents’ Day weekend. On Tuesday afternoon, the district confirmed two additional cases, raising the total to six.

Licata walked the halls of the elementary school on Tuesday to thank teachers and staff.

“We know what goes on in schools is so important. We can never forget that you are the front line for educating our children,” he said.

Licata said that if a child is vaccinated, they are safe to go to school.

“It’s safe. It’s safe if your child is vaccinated,” Licata said.

“Thankfully, mine are, so we made the decision to bring them to school,” said Perez-Aybar.

But many parents have chosen to keep their children home this week, about 200 on Tuesday and nearly 175 on Wednesday.

“But I think the school has done a great job in trying to mitigate things, putting information out so we can make wise decisions,” said Perez-Aybar.

The Florida Department of Health released a letter on Tuesday detailing how easily measles spreads. They said that up to 90% of people who don’t have immunity and who are exposed will get it.

“The principal remains in close contact with the families, and we will continue to provide timely updates for the entire community,” said Licata.

Health officials said that if people are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, they’re about 98% percent protected from the highly contagious disease.

“The hallmark of measles is the rash, though, and that occurs a few days later,” said Dr. Ron Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “The rash is red, dotted rash that starts on the face, around the hairline, behind the ears, and then spreads to the trunk and then to the extremities. That’s one of the unique features of the measles rash, is where it starts and the way it spreads.”

Health officials urge anyone who is showing symptoms to call their healthcare provider first before showing up.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox