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Florida kids aren't getting their flu vaccines, CDC data shows

Florida kids aren't getting their flu vaccines, CDC data shows

As families gathered for the Thanksgiving holiday, North America was experiencing the beginnings of increased flu activity. However, in Florida, children’s vaccine levels lagged behind the rest of the nation. The Sunshine State's pediatric vaccine levels (ages 6 months to 17 years) are about 22%, lagging behind the national average of 56% for children overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ideal level is 70%, said Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist at the University of Central Florida. [Source: Health News Florida]

Nursing shortage improves in Florida, data shows

New data shows a major shortage in the nursing industry is on a rebound. The shortage stretched hospital staff thin in Florida and the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID cases rose, many nurses left the industry or retired early. In just the last year there has been a 38% decrease in vacancy rates for nurses. The Florida Hospital Association credits schools for graduating more nurses, and the state's commitment to recruit more nurses to move to Florida. [Source: WFTV]

Florida among 7 states hit by listeria outbreak, CDC warns

Infected fruit, possibly from a batch already subject to a recall, may be behind an outbreak of listeria in multiple states, including three cases in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning. Ten people have been hospitalized and one person died, according to a health alert sent out by the agency Monday afternoon. The true number of those infected could be higher, since some of those infected will recover without medical care and are not tested for the disease. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Administrative law judge set to rule on Florida's medical marijuana license fee

An administrative law judge is poised to decide whether a $1.33 million license-renewal fee is too pricey for medical marijuana operators doing business in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration in December hiked the fee, which had been $60,000 since the inception of the state’s medical marijuana program six years ago. The increase came after the governor complained that marijuana companies — whose licenses have sold for upwards of $50 million until recently — weren’t paying enough. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Positive Healthcare, which covers people with HIV/AIDS, leaves Florida

Almost 900 people in Florida will be left without insurance at the end of the year after Positive Healthcare announced it is leaving the state. Positive Healthcare is a Medicare Advantage health plan and includes prescription drug coverage for people who have HIV or AIDS. The plan is backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. More from Health News Florida and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.


› What's new in Florida Department of Health COVID reports after the lawsuit? What's missing?
In October, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) agreed to settle a nearly two-year-old lawsuit over COVID-19 data by releasing more detailed information spanning back three years on the state's FLHealthCHARTS.gov site. At about the same time, the state stopped issuing its biweekly COVID reports. After years of slow-walking or refusing public records requests for specific COVID data and changing the way it counts cases, this is another big change for the state's reporting.

› Local hospitals tackle Orange County’s sleep-related infant deaths
In September, an Orange County 10-month-old infant was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in her portable crib. The case was reported to the Department of Children and Families Florida Abuse Hotline for investigation. An autopsy determined the cause to be sleep-related. This year, at least 51 sleep-related infant deaths have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable infant deaths in the state. And while not every accidental child death is a crime, parents can sometimes face criminal charges on top of the anguish of losing a child.

› All Children’s seeks retrial in Maya case, claims juror misconduct
Nearly two weeks after a jury awarded $261 million in damages against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, its attorneys on Wednesday filed for a retrial in a motion that accused the jury foreman of violating strict conduct rules during the trial. In a decision that gained national and international attention, partly because the case had been popularized in a Netflix documentary film, the jury found that All Children’s in 2016 falsely imprisoned and battered Maya Kowalski, a 10-year-old Venice girl, and contributed to her mother’s suicide.

› Report card: How did Jacksonville-area hospitals fare in latest patient safety grades?
Seven of the 14 full-service hospitals in the Jacksonville area received "A" grades in a national health care watchdog organization’s latest patient safety survey. Baptist Medical Center Beaches, Baptist Medical Center Nassau, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Baptist Medical Center South, HCA Florida Memorial Hospital, Mayo Clinic and UF Health Jacksonville got top marks.