Don’t let too much of summer vacation slip away before planning to get ready for school again – including all childhood immunizations.

The best choice is to have children vaccinated by your family doctor. If that is not possible, you can visit the Tribal Health Department or county offices of the Florida Department of Health. DOH is offering free immunizations over the summer, including a big campaign at Lauderhill Mall in Broward County from Aug. 7-22.

Skipping the shots does matter. In South Florida and elsewhere in the U.S., a few unvaccinated children have come down with cases of diseases that previously were virtually eradicated, namely measles, chicken pox and whooping cough.

Florida law says children cannot start school unless they have received all vaccinations against nine contagious and potentially fatal childhood diseases. Back-to-school shots are especially important for children entering kindergarten and seventh grade, because different requirements begin at those grade levels. Don’t let a missing vaccination mess up the first day of school.

Vaccinations required for school include:

Parents are encouraged to consider additional vaccinations not required for school but recommended by federal health officials. These include vaccines against flu (yearly starting at six months old), rotavirus (3 doses for babies), Haemophilus influenzae B (3-4 doses for babies), pneumococcal disease (4 doses for babies), hepatitis A (2 doses for babies), human papilloma virus (2-3 doses starting at age 9) and meningococcal disease (2 doses starting at age 11).

Seminole tribal clinics give required back-to-school immunizations. Parents can make an appointment for their children and be ready for school in advance. For details, phone numbers and locations, visit

Additionally, DOH gives free shots for back-to-school through the federal Vaccines for Children program:

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