Home / Health and Science / How Alachua County Students Can Receive Free Vaccines

How Alachua County Students Can Receive Free Vaccines

By

Desiree Ivey is an incoming seventh grader who needed the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine to go back to school.

Ivey also needed a varicella shot she was missing to prevent chicken pox. She said she was only expecting to get the Tdap shot, but the shots didn’t cause much pain.

“It was OK. The second one sort of stung a little, and the first one I didn’t really feel anything,” she said.

Without the Vaccines for Children Program, her mother, Sonya Kong, would have paid $66 for the Tdap shot and $138 for the varicella shot at the Alachua County Health Department.

The program gives children free shots up to the age of 18. If children have health insurance, their insurance companies will only be billed vaccine administrative fees. The vaccines are given at no cost.

Linda Barrett-Jakeway of the Alachua County Health Department administers a vaccine recently.
Linda Barrett-Jakeway of the Alachua County Health Department administers a vaccine recently.

Alachua County Health Department Immunization Coordinator Michael Smith said vaccines are required to stop the spread of diseases.

“There are a lot of preventable illnesses out there that can be stopped simply from being vaccinated against the disease,” Smith said.

The vaccination program also accepts children regardless of their immigration status or their parent’s status.

Alachua County Health Department Medical Executive Director Dr. John Colon said the department requires multiple forms of identification.

“We ask for three forms of IDs, which can be a car tag, it could be a school paper. Anything to identify the person, but if they don’t, some kind of picture ID will be sufficient,” said Colon.

The department accepts foreign birth certificates, school IDs and any other form of picture IDs.

Students from kindergarten to 12th grade are required to have certain immunizations, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Smith said religious beliefs are the only exception to immunizations with approval from the county’s health department.

“We wouldn’t want the child to go to school their first day and find out that they’re not properly vaccinated, then be sent home,” said Smith.

To obtain free school vaccines, visit the Alachua County Health Department Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

Check Also

Juan Gilbert, chair of the University of Florida's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department, demonstrates how to use the Prime III voting machine, which he developed. Prime III assists the disabled with voting and was used for the first time in New Hampshire for this month's election. (Alexa Lorenzo/WUFT News)

UF-Developed Voting Machine For Disabled Used On Election Day

Other states have a separate voting machines made specifically for people with disabilities, but with Prime III, all of New Hampshire's are able to accommodate any voter.