(Springfield, Mo.) It's that time of year again, when youngsters are reminded of the upcoming school year with a prick in the arm. It is time for parents to focus on vaccinations for their children.
With the first day of school just two weeks away, a lot of parents are scrambling to get everything ready. But before kids are sent off to school. There maybe one thing parents need to add to their do list.
"This week is a great opportunity because the parents can come in and they don’t have to worry about bringing their student to a doctors office or calling in for an appointment," explains Shannon Jones, Licensed Practical Nurse, Jordan Valley Community Health Center.
Jones says getting your children up to date on their immunizations before school starts can sometimes be tough.
"Most of the time when the parents come in they understand what’s going to happen and if not we do a really good job at explaining that what those immunizations are protecting their students from and any follow up they need."
That's why staff at Springfield Public Schools is hoping to ease that burden for parents like Patty Melton by hosting free vaccination clinics to make it easy for parents to protect their kids.
"It makes it a lot easier so I don’t have to make an appointment at a doctor’s office that’s already booked up. I can just come to the school, get it done, and get the kids out of here," explains Melton.
Schools require the vaccinations, but medical professionals say they're vital for other reasons too.
"That very first day of school if you’re student doesn’t have the recommended shots or the required vaccines for the state of Missouri then they’re going to be sent home," adds Jones.
Jones says the anti vaccination movement does a disservice to the community at large, however she and her staff continue to educate families.
"From a clinic standpoint, all we can do is educate those parents. We can provide reputable websites and books and educate as much as we can on the cons of not vaccinating your child.
Jones says every student is different so parents should talk to their doctor about what vaccines are best for your child.
The most effective way for parents to protect their children from serious diseases is to have them immunized. Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 12, Springfield Public Schools will hold free immunization clinics at its high schools and middle schools.
Students must have documentation that they are properly immunized before enrolling in school or attending school.
Locations for the SPS free vaccine clinics are listed below. The clinic starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. each day.
Thursday, August 2 - Central High School
Friday, August 3 - Kickapoo High School
Monday, August 6 - Parkview High School
For students not in the Springfield Public School System, Jordan Valley can help get students up to date on vaccines.