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High school seniors urged to get free vaccines before graduation

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This news release is from the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County.

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 8, 2017 - Local public health and school officials remind high school seniors to get their immunizations updated before they graduate or turn 19. Vaccines are only available at no charge through the federally-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program while the student is enrolled in high school or younger than age 19. The cost of vaccines required for college entry for those who are no longer eligible for the VFC program can be significantly more than $600. By acting now, families can save money, meet college requirements, and avoid the last minute summer rush. 

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) Immunization clinics in Sarasota and North Port offers no-cost vaccines to young people still in school or under age 19 and whose health insurance plan does not cover vaccines. Families who have insurance covering vaccines will also get them free of charge if they show proof of insurance. No co-pays will be charged for those who get children’s vaccines at DOH-Sarasota. Parents who decide to get the vaccines from their child’s pediatrician’s office are encouraged to check to see if they are a VFC provider and whether there is an administration fee and co-pay for the vaccines. 

Many colleges and universities, including Florida public universities and colleges, require proof of updated vaccinations for enrollment and/or dormitory-living. 

Two of the recommended vaccines offer safe and effective protection against the most common and serious forms of bacterial meningitis (Men ACWY and Men B). Other recommended vaccines include TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis or whooping cough) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Health officials also encourage college-bound students get the Hepatitis A vaccine and the second dose of the Varicella vaccine, which protects against chickenpox. The protection offered through some vaccines wanes over time, so certain vaccines need to be repeated to maintain an adequate level of immunity.

“When young people are current on their vaccines, it reduces the likelihood they will acquire diseases throughout their lifetime which vaccines can prevent. Having good community or herd immunity helps prevent disease outbreaks which can lead to missed time from school or work, costly hospitalizations, permanent disability and even death,” says DOH-Sarasota School Health Supervisor Linda Glover. “You will also save hundreds of dollars by getting vaccines now instead of waiting.” 

Immunizations are available Monday-Friday at these DOH-Sarasota locations. Health officials say early morning hours are usually best for walk-in immunizations and appointments are also available. Parents must accompany those under age 18. Please bring previous shot record and insurance cards. 

William L. Little Health & Human Services Center

2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Walk-in services begin at 7:30 a.m.
Call for hours or to request an appointment

North Port Health Center
6950 Outreach Way, North Port
Walk-in services begin at 8:00 a.m.
Call for hours or to request an appointment

For additional details, please call the School Health Office at 941-927-9000, ext. 32101. Parents can also visit or the school district website,   

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit


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