Immunizations and Vaccinations, Meningococcal Disease, and Student Health
All Florida public and private schools serving grades K-12 are required by Florida Statute 1003.22 to establish and enforce as policy that, prior to admittance or attendance, each child present or have on file a certification of immunization. Such certification must be made on forms approved and provided by the Florida Department of Health and become a part of each student's permanent school record. (See www.floridahealth.gov for more information.)
The Form DH 680, Florida Certification of Immunization, must be used to document receipt of immunizations required for entry and attendance in Florida schools. Form DH 680 is issued by county health departments and by private healthcare providers. If you recently moved to Florida from another state, you must have your child's vaccination history, if any, transferred to Form DH 680. No other immunization records can be accepted.
Exemptions from Required Immunizations
- Temporary Medical Exemption
- Private healthcare providers may grant a Temporary Medical Exemption if a child is in the process of completing necessary immunizations. This exemption is documented on Form DH 680 and will include an expiration date after which the exemption is no longer valid.
- Permanent Medical Exemption
- Private healthcare providers may grant a Permanent Medical Exemption if a child cannot be fully immunized due to medical reasons. This exemption is also documented on Form DH 680, and the physician is required to include the reason(s) for exemption based on valid clinical reasoning or evidence.
- Religious Exemption
- Pursuant to F.S. 1003.22(5)(a), your child shall be exempted from this requirement upon objection in writing that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with your religious tenets or practices. The County Health Department will issue Form DH 681, Religious Exemption From Immunization. This exemption is based on established religious beliefs or practices only. In Florida, a parent or guardian may not object to the administration of immunizing agents for philosophical reasons.
Available Immunizations and Vaccinations
A brochure that outlines the current Florida school entry immunization requirements is available from FloridaHealth. Please see their schedules and requirements under Immunization Publications. FloridaHealth offers additional information on school immunization requirements on their website. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides information at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/. For a list of vaccines used in the United States, visit the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/vaccines-list.htm.
Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
For detailed information regarding the causes, symptoms, and transmission of meningococcal disease and the availability, effectiveness, known contraindications, and appropriate age for the administration of any required or recommended vaccine against meningococcal disease, please visit the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/.
Research shows that a student's health has a direct impact on his or her academic success, and we, as parents, know the importance of our children developing lifelong healthy habits. We've listed a few websites below that offer valuable information about the connection between health and academics and provide free resources to help you include health in your child's curriculum.
- Safe and Healthy Kids and Teens Links provided here will help you guide your kids in making healthy choices.
- Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit This toolkit can be used by anyone who promotes youth physical activity, and many of the components can be adapted/customized. You can download a User Guide, facts sheets, PowerPoint presentations, a poster, and more. You can also order a free copy of the toolkit, which includes a CD with print-ready files of all materials.
Here are a couple of educational websites designed for kids (and their parents):
- Bam! Body and Mind An online destination for kids ages 9-13 that uses kid-friendly lingo, games, quizzes, and other interactive features. There is a Teacher's Corner, too, with activities, downloads, and more, to help you integrate health into your child's curriculum.
- KidsHealth.org This site is for parents, kids, teens, and educators. The Parent section provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years; the Kid section includes articles, animations, games, and other content; and the Teen section is a resource designed just for teens who need honest, accurate information and advice about health, emotions, and life. For health related lesson plans, visit the Classroom section. There you can download Teacher's Guides that include discussion questions, quizzes, activities, printable handouts, and more.