We continue to receive inquiries from local parents asking us if they should expect to encounter hurdles or difficulties in obtaining, for their school-age children, religious or medical exemptions from vaccination requirements in Sarasota County. 
For example, a local mother we’ll refer to as “Sarah” (not her real name) wrote the following:
I am planning on filing the ‘DH 681’ religious exemption for my daughter… I’d like to obtain the religious exemption for her, but I don’t want to go in blind, have them start asking me all these questions, then blindside me and then they just reject it.
I can go to the Department of Health, I’m assuming up here on Ringling Boulevard [in downtown Sarasota] and get it done there? 
What is the process? What should I expect when I walk in the door?
What kind of questions are they allowed to ask me? Can they ask me if she was vaccinated before? If they do, do I say yes, or do I say no?
Are they allowed to ask me what religion I am? Or why I’m just now deciding to do this when she was vaccinated before? Do I tell them that I switched religions?
I just need to go in armed with the knowledge of what to expect and how it should go.
… In summary, has anyone in our community obtained the religious exemption? If so did it work? Were you denied?Was it easy?
Any help is much appreciated please and thank you.”
Important note: Sarasota for Vaccination Choice (SVC) has not received any specific information to suggest that local officials are making it difficult for — or “pushing back” against — parents who make the requests for exemption from vaccination.
That said, however, we would greatly appreciate any feedback from Sarasota parents, regarding your personal experiences —positive or negative — in dealing with the exemption process.
Also, any suggestions you have found helpful in navigating this process would be most appreciated.
Note: If you send your feedback via email, we promise to maintain your anonymity; needless to say, if you post via Facebook, we may have no control over whether your name appears or not.
Sarasota for Vaccination Choice (SVC)
DISCLAIMER: This is not, nor should it be construed as, legal or medical advice.
 According to Florida Statutes, two types of exemptions from vaccinations are available; religious and medical.
National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has summarized the Florida situation as follows:
Quick Facts and Resources for Florida Residents
“A request for a religious exemption from immunization requirements must be presented to the facility/school on the Department of Health’s Religious Exemption From Immunization form (DH 681 Form). The DH 681 Form is issued only by county health departments and only for a child who is not immunized because of his/her family’s religious tenets or practices. If a parent requests such an exemption, the county health department staff must use the current DH 681 Form, which has been signed by the parent affirming the written statement on the form that a religious conflict exists. This form must be issued upon request. No other information should be solicited from the parent or guardian.” Rule 64D-3.046, Florida Administrative Code. Medical exemptions are also allowed. [EMPHASES ADDED]
Exemption from Required Immunizations: Florida Dept. of Health
 Florida Dept. of Health: Sarasota Locations