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Students can get shots for school at Tropicana Field

Students can step into the players' locker rooms for their required immunizations and physicals for school.

Part of the back-to-school drill for some Pinellas County students is the unpleasant jab in the arm of a required immunization and the dread of a physical examination. This year, those tasks may be more bearable for students who take advantage of the Junior League's Back to School Care Fair.

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball team, will host the Aug. 14 fair. Some of the medical segments will take place in players' locker rooms, which could provide more diversion than the scenery in a doctor's office or the Pinellas County Health Department. Concession stands will be open.

The fair runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is open to students ages 4 to 17. Students must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and bring birth certificates and immunization records.

No admission fee is charged, and parking in Lot 5 is free. Attendees should enter the domed stadium through Gate 6 off 16th Street S. The first 3,000 students to register will receive backpacks filled with school supplies.

This year's Care Fair is the third staged by the Junior League, which enlisted help from businesses, local hospitals and the county health department. The 3,000 students expected for at least some of the services offered will be triple the number who attended last year.

"We are trying to make every child feel important," said Murray Beairsto, league president. "They can go to school on the first day and look like everybody else. That is the idea behind the backpack."

The league put in $13,000 and raised another $13,000 through donations. With in-kind contributions, the Care Fair represents a $100,000 event that is free for children throughout Pinellas County.

Immunizations will be done free of charge by the county health department. Physicals also are free and administered by Bayfront-St. Anthony's Health Care. The Care Fair also will have representatives from about 30 community agencies to let parents know what services are available.

Who needs

what shots?

Grades K-1:

Measles vaccine (second dose, preferably MMR)

Hepatitis B series (three doses during a six-month period)

DTP (total of four or five doses required)

Polio (total of three or four doses required)

Grades 2-6:

Measles vaccine

DTP

Polio

Grades 7-9:

Tetanus-diptheria (TD) booster

Measles vaccine

Hepatitis B series

All Pinellas County health units provide free immunizations. Dates of the shots must be recorded on the Florida Certificate of Immunization (DH680).

For information, call the Junior League of St. Petersburg at (727) 895-5018.

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