Don’t forget vaccinations as the start of school nears


The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County is providing free immunizations for eligible children who are entering school for the first time and those who are returning to class when school starts Aug.14.

Vaccines help develop immunity to many serious infectious diseases by enabling the body to recognize and fight vaccine-preventable diseases. The following vaccines are required for children entering preschool and kindergarten through grade 12: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella (chickenpox) and hepatitis B.

Students entering college should check with the health services at their college regarding immunization requirements.

A program called Florida SHOTS is a free, statewide, centralized online immunization registry that helps health-care providers, parents and schools keep track of immunization records to ensure that students of all ages receive the vaccinations needed to protect them from dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases.

Florida SHOTS makes it easier to keep up with your child’s immunization history even when moving or switching doctors. The registry is endorsed by the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, Florida Association of Health Plans Inc., Florida Medical Association, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association and the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Call (305) 293-7500 or visit for vaccination locations and hours.

Tax holiday

For the coming school year, new teachers in Monroe County report Aug. 7, the rest on Aug. 9 and students start Aug. 16.

That means the kids should start getting what they need for the classroom. And like in years past, the state has created what’s called a three-day tax-free holiday for school supplies. It contines through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 6. During that time, the sales tax is waived on a variety of goods.

Generally, clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item are not taxed. Neither are certain school supplies selling for $15 or less and personal computers and certain computer-related accessories selling for $750 or less.

Free physicals

The Florida Keys Area Health Education Center is providing no-cost school and sports physicals for all new students and student athletes.

Physicals will be provided on a rotating schedule at the eight school health center sites throughout Monroe County. To schedule an appointment please (305) 743-7111, Ext. 210.