Vaccines required for school-aged children to stop preventable diseases

It’s August, which means that students are spending their last summer days at the pool and piling back into school hallways. Hannibal School District schools started back on August 17.

Besides buying the school supplies and new clothes, make sure that your children are up-to-date on their vaccines.

From preschoolers to college young adults, all school age children need vaccines. As a parent, making sure your children get all their vaccines is an important step to keep them, their friends, and classmates healthy.

It’s also the law. To keep children in schools healthy, Missouri schools require that children get certain vaccines to protect against diseases, such as whooping cough (pertussis), mumps, measles, and rubella, and chicken pox (varicella).

With vaccines, diseases like measles and whooping cough are mostly a thing of the past. But, large numbers of disease cases can still happen when people don’t vaccinate. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the number of measles cases jumped from nearly zero to more than 25 in 2014, partly due to children not being vaccinated until school entry.

Rich Stilley, Business Manager at Hannibal School District, said, “We will have a school-based health clinic and we will have NPs [nurse practitioners] both on the health side and the behavioral health side. And our new board office will be open to have parents and their students get immunizations if they missed them this summer.”

The new school-based health clinic called PATCH: Pirates Accessing Treatment Clarity Healthcare opened when school started and will be located on the first floor of the special services building on McMasters Ave. and Pirate Pride Dr. The clinic provides services by appointment to students and school district staff.

If your child has missed any shots, now is the perfect time to catch up. Here are steps to take to make sure your child is up-to-date:

•Schedule your children’s back-to-school wellness checkups with their doctor

•At the back-to-school wellness checkup, ask the doctor what vaccines your children need

•If you need a copy of your children’s vaccine records, you can ask the doctor’s office or clinic where your child gets vaccines, your local health department, and your child’s school

•Keep up-to-date vaccine records for your children and family

How much do vaccines cost? Most health insurance plans pay the full cost of vaccines. If you don’t have health insurance, you may be able get help paying for vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VCF) program. In Hannibal, these providers are part of the VCF program:

•Marion County Health Department located at 3105 Palmyra Rd. Call them at (573) 221-1166.

•Hannibal Clinic located at 100 Medical Dr. Call them at (573) 221-5250.