Free back-to-school vaccines in Orange County

With just weeks away from kids going back to school, now is the time to make sure they all have their state-required vaccines.

The Orange County Health Department just opened their free back-to-school clinic on Monday.

In the first day, they maxed out capacity. 

CJ Quinones, 5, cannot contain his nerves because he knows exactly why he’s here.

“Shots!” he said. 

He’s about to start Pre-K and needs his latest round of immunizations before he can go to school.

“He needed at least three shots, so it was very important for him to get those,” his mother, Sofia Quinones, said. 

Sitting in Mommy’s arms, the nurse quickly gives him his vaccines.

Just a minute later, he’s proudly showing off his little bandages. All of it was free of charge. 

“It’s definitely a benefit because our doctor was asking $200, so to be able to do this... it saves us a lot of money and definitely puts it toward his school supplies,” Quinones said.

Free clinics like this are going a long way in helping calm fears after nationwide outbreaks. 

“These are preventable diseases - from chicken pox to polio to the measles, mumps, and rubella,” Kent Donahue of the Orange County Health Department said. “There was a big outbreak across the country of measles, so we want to make sure all the kids are vaccinated for these diseases.”

The CDC reported 30 states have confirmed cases of measles, including Florida.

It’s the largest number of reported cases in the U.S. in over 20 years.

Since measles was declared eliminated in 2000, the majority of people contracting measles are unvaccinated.

The Orange County Health Department is offering Orange County families with children ages 4 to 17 free required vaccines over the next two weeks at the West Oaks Mall.

“We reached our maximum today,” Donahue said. “It’s first, come first serve – about 200 individuals because it’s a long process. A lot of forms and checking and rechecking.”

“I know there was a lot of people right when I came in at 7:30 a.m.” Quinones said. “The line was definitely long.”

Parents or guardians must bring a photo ID and their student’s most recent immunization record with their birth certificate or other government ID.

Once they receive their vaccines, they will also receive a free DH680 form that is required for schools and daycares.

Experts urge families to arrive early.

“Everyone is very helpful, very caring and compassionate,” Quinones said. “It’s definitely been easy. Not as stressful.”