Counties Ready For Back To School Vaccine Season

Jul 16, 2015

Credit Photo via Flickr// Apotek Hjartat /

Schools are still a month away from the being in session, but health officials are already reminding parents to make sure their child’s vaccinations are up to date. Sherry Smith, the Director of Student Services for the Santa Rosa County School District says the disctrict's school had a 98% vaccination rate for the last school year

Unlike 18 other states that have a philosophical exemption to their school vaccine requirements, Florida only allows parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children for verifiable religious or medical reasons. Because of recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, notable measles and pertussis, California and Vermont repealed their philosophical exemptions this year.

According to Debbie Price, Nursing Program Specialist with the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County, the vaccine requirements to enter school are the same in every county in the state. To enter kindergarten a child must have:

  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP)
  • Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)

Those vaccines would be administered on a schedule beginning at two months up to school age. Once a student approaches middle school, they will need to get tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (T dap) booster  shot before Getting your child vaccinated has never been easier. County health departments are gearing up for the back to school vaccination rush.

In Escambia County you can make a same day appointment for vaccinations between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the health department office at 1295 Fairfield Drive in Pensacola. And from August 10 through the 21st you can also make appointments for vaccinations at 8390 North Palafox in Pensacola and on Highway 29 in Molino. The number is 595-6554.

In Santa Rosa County they are also ready for the back to school rush. The county health department has a regular immunization clinic at their Milton location on Stewart Street on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m with a lunch break at 11:30.  For the week of July 27, they will be open Monday through Thursday. 

Santa Rosa will also offer extended hours, until 6:30 p.m., on Thursday July 30 and on August 6, 13, and 17. In addition, on July 30 only, they will offer a T-DAP clinic for students entering 7th grade at their Midway location on Gulf Breeze Parkway. Debbie Price says that although you may have heard about outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases on the news, our area has been lucky and has not been affected. She credits this to the high vaccination rate in the regions schools.

Price also suggests that parents get their children vaccinated soon, because the clinics will be getting very busy as the school year approaches. The first day of school is August 17.