Health department holding special vaccine clinics to help get kids ready for school
From Staff Reports

Aug. 3, 2005 -- The state health department is holding special immunization clinics next week to help parents get their children’s shot records up to date before the start of school.

The Texas Department of State Health Services already offers immunizations the first three Tuesdays of each month from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at their offices at 1400 College St.

Two more days will be added to the schedule next week, however. The immunizations will be offered Monday, Aug. 8, and Wednesday, Aug. 10, in addition to Tuesday, Aug. 9. Times will remain the same, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian -- emphasis on LEGAL -- and must bring a current copy of their immunization record. Fees are based on family size and income. Children on Medicaid should bring their current Medicaid cards.

Some parents who think their children’s shot records are up to date may be in for a surprise -- a new law takes effect Sept. 1 requiring children attending child care centers and pre-kindergarten programs be vaccinated against invasive pneumococcal and hepatitis A diseases.

In addition, those children must also be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) at the appropriate age. If children have not had the first dose of the required vaccines by Sept. 1, they may be excluded from child care and pre-kindergarten programs.

There are also expanded requirements for hepatitis B and varicella immunizations. Students in kindergarten through 11th grade must have received the hepatitis B vaccine. Those in kindergarten through fifth grade and seventh through 11th grades must have received the varicella vaccine before school starts.

Routine vaccination recommendations call for most of the vaccine doses required for school attendance to be given by age 2, with boosters between ages 4 and 8. Catch-up schedules are available for those who did not receive the vaccines when younger.

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