Parents urged to get their children vaccinated for school

No appointment or fee is necessary at the Florida Department of Health offices in Sarasota and North Port if a child or youth is 18 or younger

Photo courtesy Florida Department of Health
Photo courtesy Florida Department of Health

With the Sarasota County Schools preparing to welcome students back on Aug. 22, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) is reminding parents that updated vaccines are required for kindergarten and seventh grade in all Florida schools.

“A completed DH 680 form is required for registration in Sarasota County public schools,” a Health Department news release says. “The form is available through your child’s pediatrician and at DOH-Sarasota,” it adds.

Vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough, measles and meningitis “can spread quickly in school settings,” the release explains. “Therefore, students without required immunizations will be sent home from public schools on the first day of school. In addition, they will not be able to ride the bus or participate in sports, band or other extracurricular activities until the school has the DH 680 form showing they have received the required immunizations,” the release adds.

Health officials say the meningococcal meningitis vaccine; the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against many types of cancer; and the hepatitis A vaccine are recommended for adolescents. These can be given when a seventh-grader gets the required Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough, the release explains.

“Students who may be anxious about getting a shot should know the sting lasts only a moment. The consequences of not fully vaccinating your child can be devastating and last a lifetime,” says DOH-Sarasota Immunization Program Manager Donna Keith in the release.

As parents weigh the decision to fully vaccinate their children, the release continues, local health officials ask that they review scientific information from reputable sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Your health care provider can also share scientifically accurate and up-to-date information about vaccines with you,” the release says.

For more information, visit the CDC website and the Health Department website.

Immunizations are available at the William L. Little Health and Human Services Center at 2200 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota (call 861-2784 for hours) and at the North Port Health Center, located at 6950 Outreach Way in North Port (861-3864). No appointment or fee is necessary for children and youth through age 18, the release notes. A parent or guardian must accompany the child, the release points out. “Bring shot records and insurance card if your plan covers immunizations,” the release says.