SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — As kids head back to school, now is the time to make sure they are up-to-date on all their vaccines.

“This should be on your checklist to be able to prepare,” said Ivy Welch, Outreach Coordinator at UAMS. “Just like you need your notebooks and your crayons, you should look at your vaccines.”

Welch wants parents to make sure their kids are ready for a healthy school year. Earlier this month, UAMS partnered with immigrant advocacy non-profit, Arkansas United, to host a back pack give away, and vaccine clinic in Springdale.

“We gave out 400 backpacks in about an hour, that was unprecedented,” said Welch. “We gave out over I believe 120 at-home COVID tests for families. I think that just shows there’s a need in Arkansas and we’re here to serve.”

Dr. Jose Romero with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said now is the best time to get kids up to date on all their required vaccines, and to get them the COVID-19 shot if they haven’t gotten it already.

“Parents will be taking their children in for routine vaccinations and for their routine physicals and we’ll begin to see an uptick, and there’s vaccine there,” he said.

He said the CDC is really trying to get that message to minority groups, like our Hispanic communities.

“Making it available to physicians and centers that deliver vaccines primarily to these ethnic and racial minority groups, at-risk groups at high risk for infection or under underprivileged or disadvantaged individuals,” he said.

Dr. Romero said that looks like making sure the vaccine is accessible. Welch said it also looks like building relationships with these community members.

“I was here speaking my language. We provide that space for the community and it shows how much they trust us, that we’re trusted community partners, that they heard that we were here and they came in and they sought help,” she said.

Arkansas United is hosting one final back-to-school event on Saturday, August 20th from 9 a.m. to noon at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith. It will be a block party style so you can bring out the family to experience all the fun.