COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Florida requires all students enrolled in public schools to get vaccinated, even if they’re learning online this year.
The Florida Department of Health in Collier County is offering back-to-school immunizations.
Kristine Hollingsworth, spokesperson for DOH said that’s for all students in the county, whether they’re learning face-to-face or otherwise.
“Even if your child is enrolled in virtual school. So, online school, they still are considered a student of the school district,” she said.
The vaccines are free, and will be offered in their Naples and Immokalee offices.
“Please remember that a mask must be worn while you’re in the building with your child,” said Hollingsworth.
Robert Hawkes, Director of the Physician Assistant Program at Florida Gulf Coast University says the vaccines are for the child’s protection.
“It’s important to vaccinate children to make sure that they’re current on their required vaccinations,” said Hawkes. “Because the children’s immunity is developing, they also get more exposed to many disease, because their body’s immune system hasn’t developed yet.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May the number of child vaccinations administered nationwide declined during the pandemic. Measles vaccines went from 2,500 every week for children under age 2 to less than 500 and even less for older kids. Hawkes believes that’s because of the stay-at-home orders.
“I don’t think it had anything specific to do with COVID. Just that parents and children weren’t able to get out to their appointments,” he said.
In their report, the CDC also said:
As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles.
If you plan to take your child to get a free vaccine in Collier County, you have to schedule an appointment ahead of time. They’re operating from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the following locations:
- Naples: Building H, 3339 East Tamiami Trail, Naples (239) 252-8595
- Immokalee: 419 North First Street, Immokalee (239) 252- 7300