Florida asks parents to immunize their children early

The Florida Department of Health asked parents on Tuesday to have their children vaccinated in July to avoid the back-to-school immunization rush usually seen in August.

The Florida DOH is providing free immunization services for children entering school for the first time and children returning to classes for the upcoming school year.

"Vaccines provide the best defense to protect you and your family from the spread of infectious diseases," State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong, said. "This summer, I encourage Florida's parents to get their kids ready for the school year by taking advantage of immunization services in our counties."

The DOH is also asking that parents of kindergartners and children entering 7th grade go over their immunization records. Students who are entering college are also encouraged to make sure their immunization status is up to date.

Students who are entering grades K through 12 are required to have the following immunizations up to date: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella and hepatitis B. For those who are entering college, the requirements will vary from college to college and students should check with the health services department at their college to see what is required.