With the start of the new year, the Franklin County Health Department is resuming its push to get school-age kids vaccinated in a convenient and economical way for parents.
After an initial foray last fall Director Angie Hittson hopes to build on the success.
“We will be expanding on the school clinics that we piloted last year,” Hittson said. “But, we are still working on that so details are limited.”
In September, the St. Clair, Union and Meramec Valley R-3 school districts agreed to the program and Hittson and her staff identified about 400 students who were not compliant with the vaccines.
According to the letter sent to parents, the health department offered the vaccines for $20. Private insurance or Medicaid can be billed just like at a doctor’s office.
They offered four vaccines. Meningococcal and Tdap are required by state law. They also offered the Gardasil (HPV) and the 2017-1018 flu vaccine if requested.
School-age children are required to have vaccines in kindergarten, middle school and high school.
“By law, students are supposed to have their vaccines by Oct. 15,” Hittson said. “In a lot of cases the children already have their vaccines, but the paperwork didn’t get to the schools. Through this program, we’ve already cleared that up for some students.”
Health department staff worked with the school nurses in each building and traveled with their own cots, privacy partitions and other equipment with them.
After the students were given their vaccines, they will be monitored for a short time for any side effects then sent back to class.
Hittson said he is pleased three of the larger county school districts have already agreed to participate, and said administrations in New Haven and Washington were reviewing the program as well.
In 2018, she hopes to contact over a dozen parochial and private schools in the county about the program.
If the pilot program is successful, Hittson hopes to tweak it to different times of the year ahead of vaccine deadlines and offer flu shots each year as well.