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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Immuniizations

  •  407-836-2502
  •  

    Mailing Address

    6101 Lake Ellenor Drive 

    Orlando, FL 32809 

     

General

Why do we immunize our children? To protect them from disease, disability, and even death related to childhood illnesses. To avoid spreading diseases to other children who are not vaccinated because of age, complications, or religious reasons.

Why immunize against diseases that are all but gone? All vaccine preventable diseases (except smallpox) still occur naturally in the rest of the world, usually at higher rates. With international travel being so accessible, any of these diseases can be reintroduced into any community in the US at any time. Florida is especially vulnerable since it is a huge tourist destination.

How effective are vaccines? In general, vaccines are 85% - 100% effective in protecting our children against vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines go through a rigorous process before being recommended for widespread use. When recommended, the benefits to the community far outweigh the risks.

Why are immunizations required for school enrollment? Most vaccine preventable diseases spread easily where children are gathered together. Vaccinating close to 100% can stop outbreaks from spreading if the disease is introduced.

Autism                

Does the MMR vaccine cause Autism? No, several studies have shown that there is no relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The biggest study was in Denmark in November 2002. Approximately 537,000 were examined over 6 years. One group was given the vaccine the other was not. Among the participants the incidence of autism was the same in both groups.

What about the studies that showed a relationship between the MMR vaccine and Autism? Those studies were flawed. The papers published by Wakefield in 1998, did study the incidence of autism in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Secondly, in all eight cases, the intestinal symptoms were observed after not before the symptoms of autism.

Does Thimerosal cause Autism? No, just like the MMR vaccine, several studies have been done among children who received vaccines with and without Thimerosal and the risk of Autism was the same in both groups.

Is Autism caused by children receiving too many vaccines too soon? No, there is no evidence of that.

What causes Autism? This is still debatable, but several studies have shown that autism occurs in the womb during fetal development. Children who were exposed to thalidomide during the first or early second trimester had an increased incidence of autism as well as children who were exposed to Rubella (German Measles) before birth.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

What is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine and how does it work? The HPV vaccine mimics the disease and creates resistance. It is NOT a live or dead virus. It prevents infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18.

Is the vaccine safe? Yes, tests have shown only minor complications including, headache, slight fever, nausea, fainting, and redness, bruising, pain and swelling around the injection site.

Can I contract HPV from the vaccine? No, the vaccine does not contain the HPV virus.

Is it effective in preventing HPV? Studies have shown it is 95% - 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. It does not protect against other types of HPV.

Who should get the HPV vaccine? It is recommended for females and males 9 years through 26 years old. It is best to get before the start of sexual activity. It is not currently recommended for anyone over age 26 years.

How many shots do I need? There are a total of 3 shots. Once you get the first shot, you need a second shot two months later. The third shot should be 6 months after your first shot.

How long am I protected? It is unknown at this time.

Should I get the vaccine if I am already infected with HPV? The vaccine cannot treat or cure HPV, but it may protect you from being infected with the other types of HPV.

Myths

Does my child really need all those shots? Yes, children are the most vulnerable among us when it comes to their ability to fight of potential deadly diseases That means, they are more at risk for contracting life threatening diseases, developing complications, and are more likely to die as a result of not being vaccinated.

Shouldn't I wait till my baby is older? No, there are actually several vaccine preventable diseases that can infect young infants. Vaccines help your child build up antibodies that can help in warding off disease now and later in life.

How do I know if vaccines are safe? Vaccines are developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before they are approved for public use they go through a rigorous process. When finally recommended, the benefits to the community far outweigh the risks.

Isn't it better to be naturally infected than immunized? No, the inconvenience of a vaccine or a serious of vaccines far outweighs the price of infection which could lead to paralysis, mental retardation, liver failure, deafness, and pneumonia.

Don't vaccines just weaken the immune system? No, the viruses contained in vaccines are disabled so they cannot weaken the immune system.

Flu Shot

Who should get a flu shot? Everyone can benefit from getting a flu shot, but people who are considered high risk should get a shot. High risk individuals include: young children, seniors, people who work in group homes, or health care facilities, persons 6 months and older who have chronic heart and lung conditions, and pregnant women.

Who should NOT get a flu shot? Children under 6 months of age and people who are sick with a fever.

I'm afraid of shots is there another way to get vaccinated? Yes, Flu Mist is a nasal vaccine available for healthy people ages 5 to 49. Call the clinic to see if it is available.

Does the vaccine have any side effects? Yes, they include: soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever, and body aches.

Can I catch the flu from the flu shot? No, the virus in the flu shot is inactive.

When should I get my flu shot? Generally flu shots are most effective when given as soon as the vaccine is available. The Florida Department of Health in Orange County usually receives their vaccine shipment in August. Health experts suggest receiving the vaccination as soon as it is available since it takes up to two weeks before it becomes preventative in your system.

Where can I get my flu shot? You can get your shot through your primary care provider, retail and grocery stores or at your local Health Department.

Flu and pneumonia shots are offered at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County’s Central Health Center located at 832 West Central Boulevard.  The shots are available from 7:30am to 2:00pm Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-serve walk-in basis.  With the exception of the 2nd Friday in July, August and September, the clinic is closed the 2nd Friday of each month. Please call 407-836-2502 to see if tickets are still available. Medicare is accepted for flu shots. Please bring your original Medicare card and original government-issued identification.

The cost of the flu and pneumonia shots are in the May 2016 Immunizations Services Price List (PDF 37.7KB)

Cold or Flu

Is it a cold or the flu? Use this chart to find out. Adults tend to get sick with a cold 2 - 4 times a year. People generally get the flu far less often than colds. Flu symptoms are usually more severe and last longer than a cold.  CDC information on Cold Versus Flu.

Seek medical advice if you:

  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Feel faint
  • Have a severe sore throat
  • Have a cough that produces a lot of phlegm (especially if colored green or yellow)
  • Have a temperature of 102°F or higher with a cold
  • Have a temperature of 104°F or higher with the flu
  • Have symptoms that last for more than 10 days
  • Have a fever with shaking chills
  • Have a sharp chest pain when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Suffer from a chronic condition that puts you at risk