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Florida Statute 1003.22 section (4) requires that all public and private K-12 schools retain on file a certification of vaccination for each student and states that such certification shall be made on forms approved by the Department of Health. Florida Statute 1003.22 section (5)(a) states that the provisions of section (4) will not apply if the parent of the child objects in writing that the administration of vaccines conflicts with his/her religious tenets or practice.
In accordance with 1003.22 section (4) the Florida Department of Health has issued an administrative rule requiring standardized forms for documenting vaccinations and religious exemptions:
Florida Administrative Code Rule 64D-3.046 Immunization Requirements: Public and Nonpublic Schools, Grades Preschool, Kindergarten Through 12, and Adult Education Classes.
(1)(b) A student may attend a public or non-public school, grades preschool through 12 or an adult education class if younger than 21, if prior to admittance, attendance or transfer, they present one of the following for inspection for validity by an authorized school official:
DH Form 680, Florida Certification of Immunization (July 2008), incorporated by reference, available from Department of Health (DOH) county health departments (CHDs) or physicians’ offices.
DH Form 681, Religious Exemptions for Immunizations (English/Spanish/Haitian-Creole) (February 2002), incorporated by reference, available at DOH CHDs, must be issued and signed by the local county health department medical director or designee.
All county health departments are obliged to provide the DH Form 681 religious exemption certificate when requested. This standardized DOH approved form can be obtained at any county health department. It is not necessary to obtain your certificate in the county where you reside.
The minimum requirement by the Bureau of Immunization for each county to comply with religious exemption requests is to provide the parent/guardian information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the associated vaccines. Despite this minimum requirement and the readily available information on hand-outs and brochures, the religious exemption procedure is not the same in all counties. Some county health departments have created more elaborate and time-consuming procedures for providing parents/guardians with this information.
How Counties Rate is a list of all county health departments where the DOH forms may be obtained along with notes from parents about how their religious exemption requests were processed. The notes are only as current as the last comments submitted by a parent who let us KNOW about their exemption experience. County health department procedures and personnel constantly change, so these notes may be outdated. This county locater list is intended to be a guide for planning your exemption request visit.
Note: If you have any doubts or questions about the statements being said or procedures required at the county health department that you are trying to obtain your exemption certificate from, call the Bureau of Immunization and ask for clarification and help with the exemption process at this county. They are very helpful. If a county health official says they want to “counsel” you or that you must return at a later date, give the official the phone number of the Bureau of Immunization and ask them to call the Bureau for instructions on how to provide the exemption certificate. Tell them you will wait as it will only take a few minutes.
BUREAU OF IMMUNIZATION
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A-11
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1719
Fax (850) 922-4195
Phone (850) 245-4342
So that others may KNOW, we welcome your comments sharing your own exemption experience.
|Alachua Alachua County Health Department 224 Southeast 24th Street Gainesville, Fl. 32641 (352) 334-7900||Compliant with exemption provisions. Just go to the health department and request a religious exemption form. Signed and provided immediately. (2005)|
|Baker Baker County Health Department 480 West Lowder Street Macclenny, FL 32063 (904) 259-9654||Compliant with exemption provisions. Check with the health department and make sure someone will be there to sign. (2005)|
|Bay Bay County Health Department 597 West Eleventh Street Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 872-4455||Call ahead to make sure authorized official is there to sign the form. If the authorized official is unavailable, you will have to return later to pick up the signed form. (2005)|
|Bradford Bradford County Health Department 1801 N. Temple Avenue Starke, FL 32091 (904) 964-7732||You must read a “form” before they will give you the religious exemption form. No appointment is necessary.|
|Brevard Brevard County Health Department 2575 N. Courtenay Parkway Merritt Island, FL 32953-4147 (321) 634-6337||Easy. No questions asked. Call ahead to make sure there is someone there to sign the religious exemption form. (2005)|
|Broward Broward County Health Department 2421-A Southwest Sixth Avenue Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315-2613 (954) 713-3268||Husband went to get the form; had to take a course and they were not nice (2006)|
|Calhoun Calhoun County Health Department 19611 SR 20 West Blountstown, FL 32424 (850) 674-5645||You will have to make an appointment. Director has to see you. (2005)|
|Citrus Citrus County Health Department 3700 W. Sovereign Path Lecanto, FL 34461-8071 (352) 527-1288||Compliant with exemption provisions. No appointment necessary. This county has no problem with handing out exemption forms. (2005)|
|Clay Clay County Health Department Post Office Box 578 1305 Idlewild Avenue Green Cove Springs, FL 32043-0578 (904) 269-6340||Compliant with exemption provisions. Someone is usually there to sign forms, just walk in between the hours of 8-11am and 1-3pm. (2005)|
|Collier Clay County Health Department Post Office Box 578 1305 Idlewild Avenue Green Cove Springs, FL 32043-0578 (239) 732-2684||You will need to call ahead to schedule an appointment to get the form filled out and signed. You should receive it upon request. (2005)|
|Columbia Columbia County Health Department 217 N.E. Franklin Street Lake City, FL 32055 (386) 758-1068||You will need to call ahead and make an appointment. (2005)|
|Dade Dade County Health Department 8323 NW 12 Street, Suite 212 Miami, FL 33126 (786) 845-0550 North Miami location: Little Haiti Clinic 300 NE 80 Terrace||Call ahead to make an appointment. They say they will give you the form however I did sense an antagonistic attitude when talking with the nurse. (2005)Called main number and was directed to office serving North Miami Beach. Nurse was polite; just come in; SS# is optional; only ID required. Office opens at 8 am. They give numbers and stop giving numbers at 3:30. They did not say anything on the phone about lots of paperwork. (2006)The north Miami location with hours of operation on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. You must call the main number, however, to make the appointment at either location. (2011)I went with my father on January 31 and they gave it to me without questions. (2011)|
|Desoto DeSoto County Health Department 34 South Baldwin Avenue Arcadia, FL 34266 (863) 993-4601||Ask for the Nursing Director to have the religious exemption form signed. They also told me about their internet site that would be helpful in making this decision. These people might give some unwanted advice. (2005)|
|Dixie Dixie County Health Department 1530 S.E. 12th Street, Airport Road Cross City, FL 32628 (352) 498-1360||You will have to speak to the Nursing Director about acquiring the religious exemption form. I personally never did get to speak with her as she was always unavailable to talk to me. (2005)|
|Duval Duval County Health Department 5220 N Pearl Street Jacksonville, FL 32206 (904) 253-1420||This county has a reputation for complaints concerning acquisition of exemption form. If you mention you want to call the Immunization Bureau for instructions on how to get your exemption immediately they suddenly become compliant with handing out the form. (2005)
No problems getting form (2009) The ladies running it were pleasant and I felt perfectly comfortable with them and the administrator who completed and signed my form for religious exemption of immunizations. The office is located in a strip mall on Pearl St.(2012)
I called before I went on 2/17/2012 to get my religious exemption and now they require a written statement as to why you are exempting your child. The ladies were very nice(2012)
|Escambia Escambia County Health Department 1295 West Fairfield Drive Pensacola, FL 32501 (850) 595-6500||You will need to call ahead and make an appointment (2005)|
|Flagler Flagler County Health Department Post Office Box 847 301 South Lemon Street Bunell, FL 32110-0847 (386) 437-7350||You will need to go between the hours of 1pm and 5pm to have the form filled out. (2005)|
|Franklin Franklin County Health Department 139 12th Street Apalachicola, FL 32320 (850) 653-2111||Call ahead to see if the director is available to sign the form. If he is not available they will send the completed form to you child’s school after the Doctor signs it. There is no problem with acquiring the form. (2005)|
|Gadsen Gadsden County Health Department P.O. Box 1000 278 LaSalle Leffall Drive Quincy, Florida 32353-1000 (850) 875-7200||Call ahead for an appointment. I was told I had to have a notarized letter stating I am requesting a religious exemption form and include the child’s full name, child’s social security #, full address and phone #, both parents or guardians full name. (2005) Note: if this happens to you, call the Bureau of Immunization and ask if this is proper protocol.|
|Gilchrist Gilchrist County Health Department Post Office Box 368 119 First Avenue, Northeast Trenton, FL 32693 (352) 463-3120||No appointment is necessary. There is usually someone there to sign the form. (2005)|
|Glades Glades County Health Department Post Office Box 489 Building 945, Highway 27 SW Moore Haven, FL 33471 (863) 946-0707||I was told you will have to meet with your primary care doctor to prove it is a religious exemption and get signed letter from the doctor to bring to the county health department. This county is not compliant. If you run into this problem, call the Bureau of Immunization to help you with them. (2005)|
|Gulf Gulf County Health Departmen t2475 Garrison Avenue Port St. Joe, FL 32456 (850) 227-1276||Call to make appointment. The person answering the phone said “They are trying to get rid of these forms.” They said they do not have any forms at present but would get some because I asked for it. (2005)|
|Hamilton Hamilton County Health Department Post Office Box 267 209 S.E. Central Avenue Jasper, FL 32052 (386) 792-1414||Call ahead and make an appointment. Director is only there on Mondays and Wednesdays. (2005)|
|Hardee Hardee County Health Department 115 K.D. Revell Road Wauchula, FL 33873 (863) 773-4161||Call ahead for an appointment. You will receive it upon request. Check to make sure the administrator will be there on the day of your appointment. (2005)|
|Hendry Hendry County Health Department Post Office Box 70 (33975) 1140 Pratt Boulevard LaBelle, FL 33935 (863) 674-4041||We were never able to speak personally with the person we were supposed to see and we were unable to get any information about the forms. (2005)|
|Hernando Hernando County Health Department 300 S. Main Street Brooksville, FL 34601 (352) 754-4067||They said they do not do anything with immunizations on Thursdays. They were very nice but insisted that I must meet with a nurse who gave me pamphlets and brochures on the importance of vaccines. Instead of it being signed the same day, they said I would be contacted in a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 4 weeks to come pick it up. They blamed this on the full schedule of the health director. The previous day we had spoken with the health director’s assistant, and she told us a 1 week date. I contacted the Bureau of Immunization and told them what I was told. They called the county and within 1 hour I received a call from the county health department saying that the exemption forms were signed and ready to be picked up. (2005)They will sign and give the form to you on the same day (2005)|
|Highlands Highlands County Health Department 7205 South George Boulevard Sebring, FL 33875-5847 (863) 386-6040 (x248)||No problem with obtaining the form. (2005)|
|Hillsborough Hillsborough County Health Department P.O. Box 5135 1105 East Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 307-8000||Call ahead to make sure someone is there to sign the form. You will need to find out which location that you need to go to get the form. (2005)Hillsborough County has become the passive aggressive county to beat. They now try to make it so hard to get a vaccination waiver for religious reasons that many people probably just give up. If you go to their website: hillscountyhealth.org, I would challenge anyone to find information about how to seek a waiver or what information they require. Not only that, but their main office (1105 Kennedy), the address listed on this site as of 8/16/12, is NOT the place you have to go to get the waiver. They force people to make multiple trips across town to the ONLY location that the waiver can be granted just to find out that you don’t have the correct paperwork or the right address. Not to mention that if you are not there at 8am when they open you will be waiting forever to get your paperwork done.
So after having done most of this I now know that the location to do the waiver in Hillsborough County is in Tampa at: 2002 East 26th Ave, Tampa FL 33605. Their supposed phone number is: 813-307-8077. Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. I will hopefully be able to post the required blue forms and directions online somewhere.
The requirements are: (1) birth certificates for each child. This is where the parents name is listed on the same document as the child’s name, so a passport will NOT work. (2) Then the parent needs ID, which is where a drivers license may work, but a passport would probably be better.
Its like the DMV, so get there early if you don’t want to wait all day. Wish me luck tomorrow! (2012)
|Holmes Holmes County Health Department Post Office Box 337 603 Scenic Circle Bonifay, FL 32425-0337 (850) 547-8500||You will need an appointment with one of the nurses to “help you fill the form out” … this means they will have a little “chat” with you to make sure you understand the ramifications of you decision. (2005)|
|Indian River Indian River County Health Department 1900 27th Street Vero Beach, FL 32960-3383 (772) 794-7410||2005 Call ahead to make an appointment. They will want you to bring in some documents on your child. They will have a “chat” with you.I typed up a letter stating that I was requesting the exemption form and why. I had called twice to confirm that the person designated to sign the exemption forms would be present and to find out if I need an appointment. I was told “no just come down and they will be able to get you that form.”When I did that it was the exact opposite. There is one nurse who can sign the forms and she only has appointments for them at 9am and 2pm and now I am being told that I need to bring my son with me for an exam, that we are both required to watch a video and undergo counseling, and that I must bring all of my son’s medical paperwork with me such as vaccine records (which they don’t seem to understand he doesn’t have despite being told several times) and his exemption form from Pennsylvania.The woman refused to accept my letter. I felt like they are trying to intimidate me and make me jump thru hoops for something that is legally my right. (2007)Note: if this happens to you call the Bureau of Immunization|
|Jackson Jackson County Health Department Post Office Box 310 3045 Fourth Street Marianna, FL 32447-0310 (850) 482-9862||Never spoke with anyone at the health department. They only have an answering machine. (2005)|
Jefferson County Health Department 1255 W. Washington Street Monticello, FL 32344 (850) 342-0171
|Never spoke with anyone at the health department. They only have an answering machine. (2005)|
|Lafayette Lafayette County Health Department Route 3, Box 8 Highway 27 Mayo, FL 32066 (904) 362-2708||Call ahead to make an appointment. They are going to speak to you concerning your decision. They were not very pleasant on the phone when I asked about this information. They might give you a hassle regarding this. Call the Immunization Bureau if they give you a problem (2005)|
|Lake Lake County Health Department 16140 US Hwy 441 Eustis, FL 32726 (352) 357-1668 (x217) Mailing address: PO Box 1305, Tavares, FL 32778||You must have your child with you. There is usually someone there to sign the forms between the hours of 8 –11 am and 1–4 pm Monday through Thursday. On Friday 1 – 11 am only. (2005)|
|Lee Lee County Health Department 3920 Michigan Avenue Ft. Myers, FL 33916 (239) 332-9501||I never did get to speak to anyone in this county. They just had an answering machine taking all the calls. (2005)|
|Leon Leon County Health Department Post Office Box 2745 (32316) 2965 Municipal Way Tallahassee, FL 32304-3800 (850)487-3155||Call ahead to make an appointment and make sure someone will be there to sign the form. (2005)|
|Levy Levy County Health Department Post Office Box 40 66 West Main Street Bronson, FL 32621 (352) 486-5305||They just have a answering machine in this county. I never did get to speak to anyone. (2005)|
|Liberty Liberty County Health Department P.O. Box 489247 North Central Street Bristol, FL 32321 (850) 643-2415||Compliant with exemption provisions. No appointment necessary. Just go in and get the form. (2005)|
|Madison Madison County Health Department 800 Third Street (New office location) Madison, FL 32340 (850) 973-5000||Call to make sure the administrator is there to sign the form. You can also give information about your child over the phone and they will have it ready to pick up after it is signed.|
|Manatee Manatee County Health Department 410 Sixth Avenue East Bradenton, FL 34208 (941) 748-0747||They only have one nurse who is authorized to sign the form. Call ahead and make sure she is available and be prepared to wait at least 15 minutes or more. (2005)|
|Marion Marion County Health Department 1801 S.E. 32nd Avenue Post Office Box 2408 Ocala, FL 34478 (352) 629-0137||Compliant with exemption provisions. Call ahead to make an appointment. They will sign the form and give it to you immediately. (2005)|
|Martin Martin County Health Department 131 Martin Luther King Boulevard Stuart, FL 34994 (772) 221-4037 (x5004)||No appointment necessary. There should be no problems obtaining the form. (2005)No harassment, no questions asked, extremely easy, in and out in two minutes. (2007)|
|Monroe Monroe County Health Department Gato Building 1100 Simonton Street Key West, FL 33040 (305) 293-7500||Just call ahead to make an appointment. They are going to counsel you on the whys and why not to. They will give you the form same day.|
|Nassau Nassau County Health Department Post Office Box 517 30 South 4th Street Fernandina Beach, FL 32035-0517 (904) 277-7287||Nurse never seems to be available for me to speak with her. (2005)|
|Okaloosa Okaloosa County Health Department 221 N.E. Hospital Drive Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548-5066 (850) 833-9240 (x197)||No appointment necessary. Just go in and ask to talk to a nurse. They will counsel you on your decision. Then they will give you the form immediately upon request. (2005)|
|Okeechobee Okeechobee County Health Department Post Office Box 1879 (34973-1879) 1728 NW 9th Avenue Okeechobee, FL 34972 (863) 462-5761||Call ahead and make sure authorized person is available to sign. Listen to their counseling session.They will want a written letter (from parents and or guardian) stating that your religious beliefs prevent you from giving your child their immunizations. (2005)|
|Orange Orange County Health Department Post Office Box 3187 832 West Central Boulevard Orlando, FL 32805 (407) 836-2502||I never did get to speak with anyone in this county. They never returned my calls. (2005)|
|Osceola Osceola County Health Department P.O. Box 450309 1875 Boggy Creek Road Kissimmee, FL 34744 (407) 343-2000||I never spoke with anyone at this county. They did not return my calls. (2005)|
|Palm Beach Palm Beach County Health Department Post Office Box 298 26 Evernia Street West Palm Beach, FL 33402 (561) 840-4500||They told me they needed to know which “part of the city” I was living in. They said it makes a difference on what procedure that they have to follow. Call the Bureau of Immunization if they give you any problems (2005)|
|Pasco Pasco County Health Department 10841 Little Road New Port Richey, FL 34654-2533 (727) 869-3900 (x262)||I went to the health department, asked for the exemption, received it, they made a copy and I was done … took maybe 5-10 minutes and they were very nice and polite towards me (2005)They were very nice but did insist on my son’s SS#. They finally did give in when I insisted that they did not need it. The nurse handed me the form and mumbled something about adding my son’s name to the data base. Overall, it was a good experience (2005)I walked in and told the woman what I wanted and she asked me the question about previous vaccinations. I said I did not have to answer that and she got a little miffed and said, “we have to ask this” and I said, “go ahead and ask but I don’t have to answer. She became irritated. When she asked me for my daughter’s social I said she did not need it and she disagreed. I told her that it was optional and I chose to bring a birth certificate. She implied that the certificate was not useful but I put it in front of her and she did use it. (2006)|
|Pinellas Pinellas County Health Department 205 Dr. M. L. King Street North St. Petersburg, Florida 33701 (727) 824-6900||No appointment necessary. Any of the nurses can sign the form for you. (2005)I did get the paperwork for the religious exemption however when I go in the person in charge of that is not in even though I have requested exact times and days they work. (2008)No hassle but had to wait and wait (2008)I took my two adopted children (ages 5 and 8), both on the Autism Spectrum, to Pinellas County Health Dept in August 2010 to get my religious exemption. I was asked initially what service I was requesting- when I told them, they had me fill out a form (names, DOB, etc.). When I was called to the lab, they acted like I was there for shots telling me what they both needed. I had to tell them again why I was there- for my exemption. The nurse then asked ‘why’ I wanted to exempt them..I told her again- ‘against my religious beliefs’. I was really getting irritated. She finally signed the exemption forms without any further questions. I do believe she was waiting for me to say something general so she could deny me my request. Make sure you do your homework before going in for the religious exemption. (2011)|
|Polk Polk County Health Department 1290 Golfview Avenue, 4th Floor Bartow, FL 33830-6740 (863) 519-7900||You can go into any of their departments and request the form. There should be no problems obtaining it. (2005)|
|Putnam Putnam County Health Department 2801 Kennedy Street Palatka, FL 32177-4100 (386) 326-3200||Call ahead and make an appointment with the Administrator. (2005)|
|Santa Rosa Santa Rosa County Health Department Post Office Box 929 Milton, FL 32572-0929 (850) 983-5200||Call ahead and make sure someone is there to sign the form. You should have no problems. (2005)Was told had to come in for counseling (2005). Call Bureau of Immunization.|
|Sarasota Sarasota County Health Department Post Office Box 2658 (34230-2658) 2200 Ringling Boulevard Sarasota, FL 34237 (941) 861-2900||You will need your child’s Social Security # with you when you go in to fill out the form. It will take up to 5-7 days for administrators to sign, they will call you to come pick up the form when it is completed. (2005)Just an FYI, I went to the Sarasota County Health Dept today and rec’d my exemption without the 5-7 day wait mentioned. I waited 1 1/2 hour, but once at the window, it was less than 5 mins to get form. No ID, no birth cert, no SS# …. I didn’t even have the kids with me. (2012)Sarasota: We did not need an appointment, in fact we walked in shortly before closing on Friday and had the “religious exemption” around 20 minutes later. There was only a very short form to fill out and no questions asked. Couldn’t have been easier. (2012)|
|Seminole Seminole County Health Department 400 West Airport Boulevard Sanford, FL 32773 (407) 665-3000||I got a waiver in Seminole County at the Casselberry Health Department. No questions asked and I had my exemption within 5 minutes! The only question was, “Do you understand this?” after I read the form. (2005)|
|St. Johns St. Johns County Health Department 1955 US Hwy 1 SouthSuite 100 St. Augustine, FL 32086 (904) 825-5055||Call ahead. Was told it will take 48 hours to get the form signed because “they don’t like to interrupt the doctor for signature”; asked if I could talk to manager – they came back in 5 minutes with signed form. (2005)Receptionist was pretty snippy when I told her I was calling to make appointment for exemption. She said that I didn’t need an appointment but to allot for lots of time because there is a lot of paperwork to fill out. (2005)I called ahead to make sure someone was available to sign, they were. Lady answered was polite about it. They are closed between 12 and 1. This county is compliant. Had no problem other then a few comments about how much work it is to put the info into the system and about how we opted out of the public shot records in order to avoid vaccines. The person who had to sign off was very nice. I was only given a pamphlet about what happens if I don’t vaccinate my children and made to sign a privacy statement, immunization records stating the exemption, and a paper with children’s info including ss#. (2011)|
|St. Lucie St. Lucie County Health Department 5150 NW Milner Drive Port St. Lucie, FL 34983 (mailing) 714 Avenue C Ft. Pierce, FL 34954 772-462-3800||Must make advance appointment so they can “counsel” the parent. (2004)Said they are required to spend time counseling you (2005).|
|Sumter Sumter County Health Department Post Office Box 98 415 East Noble Avenue Bushnell, FL 33513 (352) 793-2701||Call ahead to make sure the Director is available to sign the form. No appointment is necessary. (2005)|
|Suwanee Suwannee County Health Department Post Office Drawer 6030 915 Nobles Ferry Road Live Oak, FL 32064 (386) 362-2708||They will want to counsel you, then they will give you the form. No appointment necessary. (2005)|
|Taylor Taylor County Health Department 1215 Peacock Avenue Perry, FL 32347-2117 (850) 584-5087||No appointment necessary. Just go in and get the form. (2005)|
|Union Union County Health Department 495 East Main Street Lake Butler, FL 32054-1731 (904)496-3211||Call ahead to make sure an administrator or director is available to sign the form. The hours are: 8 – 11 am and 1 – 4 pm Monday thru Friday. If they are not available you can fill it out and they will get him to sign and you can come back later to pick it up. (2005)|
|Volusia Volusia County Health Department Post Office Box 9190 (32120) 1845 Holsonback Drive Daytona Beach, FL 32120 (386) 274-0500||A form can be obtained through any of the nurses. No appointment is necessary. (2005)I would like to state that I had a pleasant experience at the Volusia County Health Dept on 08/17/12.The ladies and nurse were very nice, the place was very crowded but they explained the info needed to get the DH681. They took my info and my son’s info and returned in about 15 minutes with the form. Once again these ladies were very nice. (2012)|
|Wakula Wakulla County Health Department 48 Oak Street Crawfordville, FL 32327-2090 (850) 926-3591||You must call the Leon County Health Department as that is where the Director is that needs to sign the form. (2005)|
|Walton Walton County Health Department 493 North 9th Street Defuniak Springs, FL 32433-9401 (850) 892-8027||Any nurse can sign the form for you. You should have no problems. (2005)|
|Washington Washington County Health Department 1338 South Boulevard West PO Box 648 Chipley, FL 32428-2208 (850) 638-6240||They never returned my call. (2005)|