Florida State Vaccine Requirements
Back to School, Navigating Vaccine Choices and Holding State Agencies Accountable
By Theresa Wrangham, NVIC Executive Director
It’s that time of year when parents receive school enrollment packages that include reminders of state school vaccine requirements. Many parents do not realize that most states offer exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. NVIC’s state vaccine law web pages are among our most highly visited web pages and our staff and volunteers work hard to keep them up-to-date with the most current vaccine and exemption information so that you understand your options.
For reliable facts helpful in evaluating vaccine and disease risks, our web pages on diseases and vaccines are an excellent resource for you as a parent, and for your college-bound young adult.
Updated School Vaccine Requirements and Exemption Information on NVIC.org
NVIC’s state web pages contain links to your state’s school, daycare and higher education vaccine requirements and information on how to obtain an exemption. Many parents use these pages to educate themselves on what is required and how to obtain a vaccine exemption for their children entering into public school.
The web pages also include vaccine related statutes, with links to the actual law, for each state that allow you to see which vaccines are legally required to help you decide whether to accept, delay or decline one or more vaccines.
Many parents question the need for, and safety of, vaccines,1 and sharing NVIC’s well-referenced information with others encourages educated vaccine decision-making. Information on NVIC’s website will also help you understand the differences between state mandated school vaccine requirements and the federally recommended vaccine schedule.
Navigating College Vaccination Requirements
College bound students face pressure to receive vaccines for meningitis, HPV, and influenza, among others.2345Because most parents are no longer legally responsible for making medical decisions for their college age children, vaccination is often the first medical risk-taking decision these young people will make.
College vaccination and exemption requirements usually comply with the state’s vaccination and exemption laws for K-12, however, in some states these policies are left to the individual colleges to create. In addition, if a college student is going into a health or veterinary profession that requires clinical practice during their course of study, vaccinations are often required in order to complete coursework.
Don’t wait until enrolling into a college or university and/or health care related program to ask what vaccines are required for entry. Obtaining higher-ed vaccine requirements and exemption options in advance of deciding which college to attend can prevent post enrollment surprises. Parents can help their sons and daughters find accurate information and resources regarding vaccines and their risks, diseases and the frequency and severity of complications, and their child’s right to make voluntary, informed decisions about vaccines. NVIC.org is such a resource.
When considering different colleges, you can proactively ask the admissions officer for the school’s vaccination policy in writing (should be on the institution’s letterhead) and research the state’s exemption laws on NVIC’s state pages. Many prospective college students visit a number of college campuses over the course of several months, so it is a good idea to get a reconfirmation of the vaccine policy in writing prior to making final college decisions to prevent any last-minute problems.
Prevent State Agencies from Abusing their Authority
As you and your college student make vaccine decisions, it is important to not only understand your state’s vaccination laws but to also support the protection and expansion of the human right to make voluntary choices about vaccination.
NVIC has noted recent trends by state health departments to overstep and abuse their legal authority by making vaccine exemptions more difficult to obtain. This overreach of authority is often initiated by health departments through a rule-making process.
We hope you will get involved in protecting vaccine choices by becoming a registered user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal to support NVIC’s efforts to prevent abuse of government authority. You can make public comments during these rule-making proceedings, and send copies of your comment to your legislators as a way of informing them about how these regulatory changes affect you and your family. It is a way of building a relationship with your legislator and holding your state agencies accountable.