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Books, Backpacks and Vaccinations: Getting Your Child’s Health Ready for School

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

August 04, 2014

Gearing up for the new school year? To be ready for that first day of class kids need more than pencils and notebooks. Getting all of the recommended vaccines is one of the most important ways parents can protect their child’s health. In Florida, immunizations are required to enter school, so it’s important your child’s records are accurate and up-to-date.

Parents of school aged children, especially those entering kindergarten and the 7th grade, should review their children’s immunization records to ensure they have all the vaccinations they need for the upcoming school year. College age students also need to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and one of the best ways to protect children from the serious effects of certain diseases is through consistent vaccinations. Vaccines help children develop immunity to infectious diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough. Vaccines enable the body to recognize and fight preventable diseases. In the US, vaccination programs have eliminated or significantly reduced many vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines not only benefit individuals, yet also other members of the community that cannot be vaccinated.

The following vaccines are required for children entering pre-school and grades K–12: diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, rubella, tetanus and varicella (chickenpox). Students entering college should check with the health services office at their school’s campus regarding specific immunization requirements.

To avoid the back-to-school rush and any last minute surprises on the first day of school, schedule a visit now with your health care provider or county health department clinic.

Florida participates in the “Vaccines for Children” program, a federally funded, no-cost immunization program. This valuable program provides vaccines to children 0 through 18 years of age who meet program eligibility, at no cost to the parent/guardian.

Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease. Protecting your children from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in school.

For additional information regarding the “Vaccines for Children” program and eligibility requirements, as well as vaccination schedules, visit the Florida Department of Health webpage www.ImmunizeFlorida.org.