New vaccination requirements this school year
With the first day of school less than four weeks away, parents need to make sure their kindergartners have a fourth polio vaccination after their fourth birthday before Aug. 8 — the first day of school.
“This change requires a fourth dose of the polio vaccine in a narrower time period than before,” Immunizations Manager Kim White said in a prepared statement. “The Centers for Disease Control has studies showing the vaccine works better when given on this schedule.”
White said the new requirement for the fourth polio shot requires children to have an additional vaccine six months after their first dose or after they turn 4 years old.
The Lee County Health Department has already seen a 55 percent increase in parents bringing their children in to have the correct vaccinations before school starts.
White said with school starting so early this year, the crowds are already starting to get thick with long lines forming at about 11 a.m.
She encourages parents to make sure their children have all their immunizations as soon as possible. Green said if parents bring their children into the health department to get their shots, they need to bring their child’s immunization records with them.
To avoid long lines, the Health Department has scheduled Shots for Tots evening clinics throughout the county for parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with their immunizations. All the required immunizations are free.
The Pondella Clinic, 83 Pondella Road in North Fort Myers, is open on the first and third Wednesday of the month from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. for walk-ins only. On the first Tuesday of the month, First Presbyterian Church, 9751 Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs, is open from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. for walk-ins only. The last location, Lehigh Acres Clinic, 5624 8th Street West #106 in Lehigh Acres, is open on the first Thursday and third Tuesday of the month from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. for walk-ins only.
The Lee County Health Department, 3920 Michigan Ave. in Fort Myers, is open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 1-3 p.m. on Friday to administer immunizations for back-to-school students as well.
“It’s important to remind parents that diseases prevented by childhood immunizations are still around and the very best way to protect your loved ones is to get them vaccinated,” Lee County Health Department Director Judith Hartner said in a prepared press release.
For information call the Lee County Health Department’s Office of Immunizations at 239-332-9601.
Once parents have their Florida certificate of immunization in hand, they can visit one of the Lee County School District student assignment offices to register their children for school.
Debbie Green, Cape Coral student assignment office manager, said parents who are registering their children for school for the first time in Lee County need an original birth certificate, a Florida certificate of immunization, records of a physical that was done less than 12 months ago and a utility bill for proof of address.
Green said if the parents do not have one of the documents with them they will be turned away, something she said they do not like doing.
The Cape Coral office has seen an increase in registrations over the last week with families from out of state.
She said business has picked up in the past week with families registering their children in school from Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri and Kansas.
“They are still coming from all over,” she said. “It is good.”
Green said many of the registrations have been for elementary, middle and high school students because of opportunities the families have discovered here.
“They are buying our vacant homes,” she said.
Although the student assignment office never stops enrolling students, Green said they want to remind parents that school starts on Aug. 8. She encourages parents to come in sooner rather than later because the week before and the week of the first day of school the office is usually standing room only because it is so busy.
The Cape Coral Student Assignment is located inside High Tech North located at 360 Santa Barbara Blvd. North. The office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information visit www.leeschools.net/school/ under student assignment or call 239-242-2059.
Green encourages parents to be patient if they are trying to reach them by phone due to the volume of phone calls they receive this time of the year.
Parents must visit a student assignment office in their area before taking their children to school.
“All families must visit school assignment before assigned to a school,” Green said. “They must come to us before they walk into their school.”