JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida’s flu vaccination rates are well below the national average and a Florida organization plans to fix this problem by providing 200,000 free vaccinations to students this school year.

Families Fighting Flu and Healthy Schools LLC started an initiative in early September that will give children around the state the opportunity to get the nasal-inhaled vaccine whether or not they have insurance.

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Children have higher flu rates than other populations and tend to spread the virus more easily.

Last year about 20,000 children nationwide were hospitalized and 100 children died due to the virus, the organization said. The group also said children miss a staggering 38 million days of school each year because of influenza.

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Healthy Schools was founded by former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli. Last year, the organization vaccinated 11,000 children.

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