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Back to School Immunization Clinics on tap

Sun - 7/16/2017

In preparation for the new school season, the Yuma County Public Health Services District will be offering Back to School Immunization Clinics beginning at the end of this month.

"Students must have proof of all required immunizations, or a valid exemption, in order to attend school," said Yuma County public health director Diana Gomez. "Although the health department offers immunizations throughout the year, during the two week back-to-school immunization clinic we concentrate our resources and pool clinical staff from other areas specifically to meet the increased volume of children preparing to go back to school. We carry and administer all school required immunization, and staff can immediately update the immunization record."

The Back to School Immunization Clinics will be held in the Yuma County Public Health Services Auditorium-west entrance, 2200 W. 28th Street, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the last sign-in at 4 p.m. during the week of July 25 to August 5, excluding weekends.

According to Gomez, the Health Department administered 17,130 vaccines last year and approximately 2,500 were administered during the two-week back to school clinic.

The County public health director notes that she feels vaccines are a "convenient, safe, and effective way to promote health and wellness."

"Vaccines protect children by helping the immune system create antibodies against certain bacteria or viruses," she said. "These antibodies help protect them if they are exposed to the virus in the future. When a large percentage of the population is immunized against a contagious disease it promotes 'herd immunity' by limiting the ability of the disease to spread. Herd immunity is critical to helping protect members of our community who are particularly vulnerable to disease such as infants who are too young to be vaccinated or individuals with weakened immune systems due to illness or chronic medical conditions."

She added that immunizations are as "important to adults as they are to children." While most children receive vaccines during childhood, many vaccines such as pertussis or tetanus require a booster in adulthood to continue to offer protection, she explained.

"Many adults may not have been fully vaccinated as children and may be susceptible to certain diseases," Gomez said. "We continue to see outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, so it's important to be aware of steps you can take as an adult to protect yourself and your family. For example, pertussis-whooping cough-vaccines are recommended for pregnant women and people who have contact with very young infants because adults are the most common source of pertussis-whooping cough-infection in infants."

Required materials the public must bring to be seen at the back-to-school immunization clinics include proof of residency -- a bill under the parent/legal guardian's name with physical address (no P.O. Boxes) or State ID/Driver license with current address, a notarized letter from homeowner that the person(s) resides within their home or a paycheck stub with physical address -- a child's immunization record or copy, a $10 fee per visit -- cash only (services will not be denied for inability to pay) and AHCCCS card or current letter of approval if patient is on AHCCCS.

Patients without this information will not be seen. Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian-legal guardian must provide guardianship documentation.

"Please bring a current immunization record," Gomez stressed. "Our immunization registry will not contain information for immunizations given out of state. Please bring guardianship paperwork if you are not the parent. We do not accept notes from parents authorizing a third party-such aunt, grandparent, or older sibling to bring a child for immunizations."

"If the child is accompanied by an adult other than the parent/legal guardian they will be given paperwork for the parent/legal guarding to read, complete, and sign prior to the child being immuniz(ed)," Gomez added. "The consent must be returned along with a copy of a valid phone I.D. containing signature for comparison."

Gomez urges those with questions or concerns regarding immunizations to speak with the County Health District immunization clinic staff or their family physician.

For more information on the County Back to School immunization clinics, call 928-317-4559.

 
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