According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Texas ranks 45th in immunization rates for children. Here in Lubbock, LISD officials say dozens of children may not be allowed to attend the first day of school without the proper vaccinations. And today parents are making last minute efforts to meet the deadline.
Parents and children are flooding the Lubbock Health Department in a last minute effort to get immunized. Beckie Brawley, Prevention Manager with the Health Department, says they've vaccinated hundreds of children in the last few days. "You need to have your child immunized before school starts because there are requirements before your child can attend school."
Required vaccinations for children under 5 include a tetanus and diphtheria or TD Shot, Polio, MMR, and Chicken Pox Vaccines. Ages 11 to 13 are required to receive Hepatitis B and a second MMR vaccine. Ages 14 to 18 are required to receive a TD booster if one is needed.
"To make it easier on parents and school nurses the children need to be immunized prior to school because we are protecting them against communicable diseases," says Brawley.
School nurse and Health Coordinator for LISD Jane Tustin says closed environments like classrooms are the perfect breeding grounds for disease so every child must be immunized. "They're in closed environments in the classroom especially in the winter. I mean, when you think of the cold, flu, and all the other respiratory illnesses than we have in the wintertime. Because kids are even more closely together then the opportunity for infection to spread is greater. It's more important to have your kids immunized to protect them from the diseases that are out there and to provide them that level of protection."
Most children are unaffected by vaccines but those receiving one for the first time may have minor reactions. "A lot of kids that are 4 and 5 year-olds haven't received the vaccine so they may run a fever have redness at the injection site," says Brawley.
Your last chance to get your child immunized at the health department before school starts is on Friday August 15th. Vaccinations will be given between 8:30 and 2:30 p.m. for $5. The Lubbock Health Department is located at 19th and Texas. If you miss Friday's vaccination, you'll need to go to a private doctor or clinic to meet the deadline.