Children's Immunization Deadline for School Closes In

WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. -- As thousands of children in the Ozarks play and work through the remaining weeks of summer, their parents are already checking off to-do lists about what needs to happen before the start of school.

Vaccinations are a part of that list and they vary depending on the child's age.

The Webster County Health Department has affordable ways parents can get their children vaccinated.

Administrator of the Webster County Health Department Terre Banks says the first step is parents need to do their homework with their school and the health department in their community.

"As long as everyone stays immunized according to the schedule then we don't see the measles, mumps, rubella any more. We don't see polio," says Banks.

Keeping kids healthy in a way parents can afford; the Webster County Health Department says that is always the goal.

"People are getting immunized as they are needing to per the schedule that is recommended therefore they are not coming down with the disease to where they are not passing it on to people,” says Banks.

As the school year draws near, so do the required vaccinations. A child could have to get anywhere from two to four shots.

"They can get one combination of the DTap and Polio and then another combination of the MMR and the Vericella,” says Banks. “Sometimes they have to have another Hepatitis B.”

Banks says these immunizations are more important than paper, pens and pencils.

"I think people don't realize that the reason why the diseases are pretty much not prevalent in the area or any is because of what they call herd immunity," says Banks.

Banks says there are several programs that help families get the vaccines.

"Right now we use the Vaccines for Children program,” she says. “Children that either qualify by having Medicaid, they're either uninsured, under insured or they are American Indian or American Native Alaskan.”

And there is something for the insured.

"We do have something that we're working on now called VaxCare that works for the insured individuals and so we're hoping that they cover a wide range of insurance companies that will allow those people to come," Banks says.

Banks says she hopes the new program will help bridge a gap.

"If the VaxCare companies don't cover a certain vaccine and if that's the case then that becomes uninsured for that vaccine and then we can pull for the vaccine for the children's program," Banks says.

Banks says it is important that you know what the health department in your community is able to offer. Banks also says your school nurse is a great resource.

The Centers for Disease Control has an interactive web page that allows you to plug in your child's date and year of birth and it will figure out their entire immunization schedule from birth to twelve years old.

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