Miami Herald | By Michelle Marchante | August 11, 2022
Kids will soon be back in South Florida classrooms for the 2022-2023 school year — and while COVID-19 vaccines aren’t required, children need to have other shots to attend school in person or online.
Vaccines protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases are required for all public and private schoolchildren attending childcare and K-12 school in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. A list of necessary school vaccines, including for kids attending daycare and pre-school, can be found on the Department of Health’s website.
Parents should check that their children’s immunization records are up to date, or that exception requirements have been met. If you have questions or concerns about vaccinations, speak with your child’s pediatrician.
And while most will be attending class in person at schools across Miami-Dade, Broward and the Keys, some students might still be learning virtually. In Florida, all public school districts are required to offer a fully online learning alternative. This rule existed before the pandemic, and certain vaccines are required for virtual students.
Why do kids need to get vaccines if they are learning from their living rooms?
“Because the vaccines help give children the immunization they need to “protect themselves and other children from potentially harmful and even fatal, vaccine-preventable diseases” such as measles and whooping cough, according to the Florida Department of Health,” as the Herald has previously reported.
And kids who learn virtually also can participate in their home school’s enrichment programs and on sports teams.
WHERE TO GET FREE OR LOW-COST KID VACCINES
Parents should speak with their child’s pediatrician about free or low-cost vaccine options. Here are some:
▪ Families without medical insurance may be eligible to apply for Florida’s Vaccines for Children program.
The federal program helps children receive routine vaccines for free and is administered and funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
For eligibility requirements and information on how to apply, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/immunization/vaccines-for-children/index.html.
▪ Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ website lists locations providing free or low-cost school vaccines, including the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, federally qualified health centers, the University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic and the Jessie Trice Community Health System. For the list, visit dadeschools.net.
▪ Free kids vaccines will be available at the Children’s Reading Center and Museum, 751 SW 121st Ave. in Davie Tuesday-Saturday through Sept. 2, according to Broward County Public Schools. Vaccines will be available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and on Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
▪ Visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/all-county-locations.html to contact your local health department about what vaccine options they have available for children and teenagers.