This July is finally starting to feel like a typical Ozarks summer, but before long, students will be donning backpacks and heading back to school. One thing they’ll need to do to prepare is get up to date on their vaccinations. To help with that, the Springfield Public Schools District is holding immunization clinics at all five city high schools. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.
Missouri law requires students to be vaccinated before they can go to school. There are exceptions—anyone can file a religious or medical exemption. But children who are not immunized are subject to exclusion from school when outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases occur.
Those without a religious or medical reason for not getting vaccinated, though, must get up to date on their shots before the school year starts.
Five Immunization Clinics are planned for late July and early August at Springfield public high schools.
The district’s coordinator of health services, Jean Grabeel, says students who are currently enrolled in Springfield Public Schools are eligible. Those who are not up to date on vaccinations should have already received a notice in the mail. She says those who want to get shots at the upcoming clinics must meet certain requirements.
"In order for the students to participate in these clinics they must qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program, and so this is a federally and state-funded program, and it's being provided in assistance with Jordan Valley Community Health Center," she said.
Vaccinations are free at the district’s clinics, which will be held from 9 am to 12:30 pm July 30 at Central, July 31 at Kickapoo, August 1 at Glendale, August 4 at Parkview and August 6 at Hillcrest.
Appointments can be made by calling 523-1632.
Grabeel explains why they hold the clinics.
"Well, obviously, vaccines prevent disease, and we want our students to be healthy, and so it's really important for us to promote that and to be able to provide clinics for students so they have an opportunity to have their first day of school," she said.
The Westside Public Health Center will also offer vaccinations for students from 8 to 10 am Monday through Friday from July 30 to August 22. Students without or with minimal health insurance can receive free vaccinations while those with health insurance may have to pay a fee. The center is located at 660 S. Scenic. To find out more about vaccinations at the center, 874-1220.
To view eligibility requirements for the Vaccines for Children Program, click here.