Immunizations a pre-classes must


Twelve-year-old Celimar Perez laughs after getting an immunization shot from Belinda Scott at the Alachua County Health Department on Thursday.

ALEXANDER COHN/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 31, 2006 at 11:39 p.m.
The start of school is generally associated with the waxy smell of crayons and fresh notebook paper, not visits to the doctor. But required immunizations are also part of the back-to-school regimen.
Students are required to have the immunizations recorded on a blue sheet called the Department of Health Form 680 to register or start school on Aug. 14.
Parents should register new students as soon as possible, said Jackie Johnson, a public information officer for the Alachua County School Board. Parents can register their children at their respective schools Monday through Thursday, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A list of required forms and school zoning information is available online at http://www.sbac.edu/
While there are no new requirements for students this year, a new vaccine given with the diphtheria-tetanus shot for pertussis, also called whooping cough, is recommended by the Health Department for students in seventh grade or below who have not received their tetanus booster, said Sherry Windham, the county Heath Department's supervisor of vaccines.
Parents should get their children immunized as soon as possible, she said, because there is a rush surrounding the first week of school.
All required vaccines are free at the Health Department. For a detailed list of required immunizations, see the chart or visit the Alachua County Heath Department's Web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdalachua/
The Health Department, located at 224 SE 24th St., is a walk-in clinic only, open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
New options The School Board approved free, voluntary influenza vaccinations, called FluMist, June 20 for students. But the vaccine is not yet available. The Health Department has applied for funding from the vaccine's manufacturer, MedImmune Vaccines Inc.
The program aims to see if vaccinating children will reduce the number of people overall who get sick from the flu, said Tom Belcuore, the county health director.
If approved, parents would receive and sign a consent form about the vaccine, which is administered as a nasal mist. It should be available before the onset of flu season in November.
Meanwhile, people have been asking about the human papillomavirus, or HPV vaccine, which prevents infection from the virus most commonly associated with cervical cancer. But the vaccine, which would be for females age 9 to 26, is not yet available at the county Health Department.
Some people are against requiring the vaccine, called Gardasil, because they say it could encourage sexual promiscuity since HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Also, the vaccine does not prevent all forms of the HPV virus and is expensive, costing $360 for the three-shot series.

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