HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Most Pine Belt schools are planning to have students back in classrooms in a few weeks. Of course, COVID-19 is everyone’s biggest concern, but parents also need to make sure children’s vaccines are up to date.
While we’re learning new information about the coronavirus every day, there are other diseases children can easily avoid by getting vaccines.
“We want our children to get their recommended vaccines so that they can be protected against some of the known germs and bacteria and viruses we have out right now,” said Dr. Cierra Greene of N.R. Burger Clinic in Hattiesburg.
The Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative is offering a Back to School Immunization Fair at clinics across the Pine Belt through the end of July, and every child who gets a vaccine or checkup will also get a bag full of school supplies including notebooks, paper and pencils.
Parents can walk-in or make an appointment to make sure their child’s vaccines are up to date.
The participating locations are:
- Beaumont Family Health Center - 411 Bradley Ave, Beaumont, MS
- Brooklyn Family Health Center - 44 Brooklyn Janice Rd, Brooklyn, MS
- Hattiesburg High School & Community Clinic - 605 Stadium Dr, Hattiesburg, MS
- Hattiesburg Public School & Community Clinic - 404 Lillie Burney St, Hattiesburg, MS
- Lumberton Family Health Center - 598 West W 11th Ave, Lumberton, MS
- N.R. Burger School & Community Health Clinic - 180 W.S.F. Tatum Blvd, Hattiesburg, MS
- New Augusta Family Health Center - 404 Main St, New Augusta, MS
- Petal School Clinic - Panther Stadium Dr, Petal, MS
- Seminary Family Health Center - 100 MS-535, Seminary, MS
“Since the schools are re-opening we definitely are pushing now for the children to get out and get their vaccines because they’re very important that they get those recommend vaccines,” said Greene.
Greene says even if your child has all their vaccines, now is a good time to schedule their yearly well-child checkup.
At check-ups, doctors screen children for any underlying health issues that will be important to know about this upcoming school year as students are facing coronavirus rules in classrooms.
Greene knows many people are wary of going to doctors’ offices right now, but says getting vaccines and check-ups are essential to keeping growing kids safe and healthy.
“They are trying to keep them home and safe, but if you have a child who has been outside playing with other people, who plays sports, who’s been with a parent as they run errands or a child has siblings that are coming in and out of the house, they’re bringing germs back home to the household so you want to make sure children get the recommended vaccines,” says Greene.
Children ages 4, 11 and 16 have required and recommended vaccinations.
Greene says some schools will cover the vaccination fees. Her advice is to call the clinic nearest you or your child’s primary doctor to make sure they are ready for school.
The clinics are following CDC guidelines and want to get as many kids the vaccines, checkups, and school supplies they need to have a successful school year.