Get immunized before going ‘back to school’

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Tulare County Public Health holds low-cost immunization clinics throughout local communities
@TheSunGazette
VISALIA – Tulare County parents and their children can get the immunizations required for children starting school with the assistance of the Immunization Action Plan (IAP) program, offered through the Public Health branch.
The IAP program provides immunizations to children from two months through 18 years of age who are eligible for the California Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, a federally-funded, state-operated program that provides vaccines for eligible children at no cost. Those eligible for VFC include Medi-Cal recipients; those eligible for the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program; those without private health insurance, and those who are American Indian or Alaskan Native. For underinsured children (children who have health insurance, but the coverage does not include vaccines; or children whose insurance covers only selected vaccines), parents can find a list of federally qualified health centers in their area at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/index.html or by calling 211, the resource line at United Way. 
The Public Health branch strongly encourages parents to have their children vaccinated now so they will be ready when school starts. Schools are required to verify student immunization records before the start of kindergarten and 7th grade, to ensure that all immunizations and boosters have been completed. Kindergartners need to have received five DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) shots, four polio shots, three hepatitis B shots, two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shots, and one varicella (chickenpox) shot. Kindergarten boosters for DTaP, polio, and MMR are given at four or five years of age.
Students entering 7th grade will need to show proof of the whooping cough (pertussis) booster (Tdap) before starting school. Two doses of chickenpox vaccine are required for entering students 13-17 years of age. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends additional vaccines for school-aged children, such as a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine for all children, the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and MCV4 (meningococcal) vaccines, and a yearly influenza vaccine. A health check-up is another important requirement for children entering first grade.
All students new to a California school must also meet certain immunization requirements according to their age or grade. More information on required immunizations is available at:  www.shotsforschool.org/k-12.
Low cost immunizations are offered at the Hillman Annex, 1150 S. K St. in Tulare, every day beteween 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. by appointment only.
Other immunization clinics will be held on the following dates and times:
  • Tuesday, Aug. 7, 9 a.m. to noon, Divisadero Middle School 1200 S Divisadero St., Visalia 
  • Monday, Aug. 13, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Farmersville Junior High 650 N Virginia Ave., Farmersville 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 14, 9 a.m. to noon, Green Acres Middle School 1147 N Mooney Blvd., Visalia 
  • Thursday, Aug. 9, 9-11 a.m., Strathmore Elementary 23024 Ave 198, Strathmore 
  • Thursday, Aug. 9, 3-5 p.m., Sunnyside Elementary School 21644 Ave. 196, Strathmore.
To assist Tulare County residents, the immunization schedules are posted at tchhsa.org/eng/index.cfm/public-health/immunizations/monthly.