The Highland County Health Department is offering back-to-school vaccination clinics in July and August, Highland County Health Department Director of Nursing Bonnie Rusch told The Times-Gazette.
“Typically, kids going into kindergarten, seventh and twelfth grades will need vaccines before starting school,” Rusch said. “Back-to-school vaccinations just keep them on track. There are lots of shots that need boosters along the way, and it’s a good way to stay on track with those vaccines. They also work with the child’s immune system at those ages. We use the ACIP [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] guidelines from the CDC, which tell us, based on science, when is the best time for them to get their vaccines.”
Vaccinations are available by appointment only, and only one adult may accompany the child receiving vaccines.
As of Tuesday afternoon, appointments for back-to-school vaccinations are available on the following dates:
* Wednesday, July 15 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* Tuesday, July 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* Wednesday, July 22 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* Tuesday, Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rusch said the health department may add additional dates dedicated to back-to-school vaccinations in the coming weeks, but if the above time slots do not work for some community members, they should contact the health department to set up appointments outside those time slots.
When parents, guardians and patients arrive at the health department for their appointments, Rusch said they should call a phone number, which will be posted outside the health department, before entering the building. If there’s room in the waiting room, health department staff will ask them to come inside. If not, staff will ask them to remain in their vehicles. A staff member will then call them once they may come inside the building.
Though the health department recommends that parents, guardians and children wear masks, especially if they own masks, it does not require masks.
The health department will also take children’s and adults’ temperatures before they enter the building.
Parents and guardians should bring their children’s shot records and, if applicable, insurance information to the appointment.
“The best way to not get a disease is to prevent it,” Rusch said in a previous interview. “Most of the childhood immunizations protect against diseases that can cause death. A lot of times these immunizations protect them for life, but there are some that you need to have boosters with as well.”
In a previous interview, Rusch said many health insurances cover the full cost of vaccines. For those without health insurance, vaccines typically cost $10 each.
In a press release provided in honor of World Immunization Week, which is held on April 24-30, the director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health, Dr. Rebecca Martin, encouraged Americans to vaccinate their children and themselves.
“As the world unites against COVID-19, we are reminded of how quickly emerging and new diseases can spread when there is no immunity against them or a vaccine to prevent them. However, for many of the world’s most dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases, we are seeing an increase in the number of individuals infected and in the number of deaths worldwide. Outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, yellow fever and other vaccine-preventable diseases are on the rise in recent years,” Martin said in the April release.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Highland County Health Department at 937-393-1941.
The health department is located in the North High Business Center in Hillsboro at 1487 N. High St., Suite 400.
It can also be found on Facebook.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.