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Health Department prepared for school shots

With school starting in less than a week, health department officials are reminding parents to come early for those required back-to-school immunizations.

Cindy McAplin, registered nurse at the Covington County Health Department, said parents don’t need an appointment to get service.

“Everything we do is on a walk-in basis,” McAplin said. “The earlier you come, the chances are the wait won’t be as long. We’re open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.; however, it is highly encouraged that parents come between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. any day but Thursday. Immunizations are not offered on Thursdays.”

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the vaccinations currently required for school entry are polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. The Hib, or Haemophilus Influenzae Type b, vaccine is required for daycare as well.

Additionally, a new requirement was added this year for students 11 or 12 entering the sixth grade.

“It’s call the Tdap vaccine,” McAplin said. “It’s a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. This requirement will escalate one successive grade each year for the following six years to include grades 6 through 12.”

Parents must present immunization history to the DPH before immunizations can be given.

“We have to know what a child has had and what they haven’t,” McAplin said. “This information can be found on what is called a ‘blue slip.’

“After immunizations are given, you’ll have to take that ‘blue slip’ and present it to the school,” she said.

Cost of the immunizations is based on income and range in price from free to $14 per immunization.

For more information, contact the CCHD at 334-222-1175.

Getting immunizations up to date is one of students’ least favorite things about going back to school.