LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — In the next couple weeks, children will be heading back to class.
And that means parents have just a few short weeks to make sure students have the correct vaccines.
It's not just school supplies that children need. They may not be able to attend class if they don't have the required vaccines before the first week of school is done.
"The first day of school for the child is something that is memorable and enjoyable," said Karla Bass, School Nurse for Florida Department of Health in Leon County. "We want it to go as smoothly as possible. We want that child to be in the classroom with their peers."
Before they can enroll in pre-K or kindergarten, Florida students are required to have several vaccines, including MMR and chickenpox. Those entering 7th grade also need to get a T-dap booster before the school year begins.
"Please work with your administrators at your school to make sure you get that in. Obviously, some things can come up. Everyone has different situations going on in their lives and we'll work with you," said Chris Petley, Spokesperson for Leon County Schools. "We like to make sure it's done the first week of school."
Some families may choose to go to their family doctor to receive their shots, but others will turn to the Leon County Health Department. For the next two Saturdays, the health department will be hosting a vaccine clinic.
"Call and make an appointment. We want to see students prior to the start of school and have them fully vaccinated," said Bass.
The vaccine clinics will be from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. this Saturday and again on August 3.
Parents, you need to make sure you bring copies of your child's vaccine records, and their insurance or Medicaid card.
The Leon County Health Department has announced two back-to-school immunization clinics ahead of the first day of school on Aug. 12.
Health officials are encouraging parents to start contacting their health care providers now to have their children vaccinated ahead of the 2019-20 school year. They say last minute appointments tend to be unavailable in the last few weeks before school starts.
“It’s never too early for back-to-school vaccinations,” Leon CHD Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said. “Beat the rush that we see every summer and get your child vaccinated for school now.”
Which students need to be vaccinated this year?
- All students who are new to Florida schools must provide a Florida certified immunization record (DH680) prior to starting school, including preschool/VPK. Students entering Florida schools for the first time are also required to submit a copy of a physical exam prior to starting school.
- All students entering kindergarten have required and recommended vaccinations, with a certified DH680 form required to be submitted before your child can attend school. Children entering Kindergarten must also have completed the recommended immunization series, which can be done as early as 4 years of age.
- All students entering 7th grade have required and recommended vaccinations, with an updated certified DH680 form required to be submitted before your child can begin 7th grade. Vaccines recommended for children entering the 7th grade include: TDAP, Meningitis ACWY (first at 11 years and second at 16 years) and HPV (typically a two-shot series separated by 6-12 months if started before age 15, otherwise three-shot series). Vaccinations may be completed as early as 11 years of age.
The health department has scheduled back-to-school immunizations clinics from 8 a.m. to noon on July 27 and August 3 at the Roberts & Stevens Clinic at 1515 Old Bainbridge Road.
Parents are asked to bring copies of their child's vaccinations records and an insurance or Medicaid card to any back-to-school vaccination site.
Vaccinations at the clinics are offered by appointment only. To make an appointment, call (850) 404-6403. Parents who do not have a primary health care provider can call 211 (Helpline) for information on area providers.