Vaccination clinics set for county schools

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Dubois County Health Department will have clinics in all four county school districts for grades five, six and 11 this school year, with the earliest one being held this month.

Clinics for fifth-graders will be in the spring. They are for the vaccinations children are directed by the Indiana Department of Education to have to go to sixth grade. Those include the booster for TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough); and vaccines Menactra (meningitis) and hepatitis A (if they haven’t had it already).

Grade 11 clinics will be in the fall and spring for required vaccinations to go to the 12th grade. Those vaccines are vaccines for hepatitis A (if they haven’t had it already), Menactra (meningitis) and meningitis B. Students will also be able to get the vaccine for HPV.

A clinic to dispense the vaccine for HPV, which is the human papillomavirus, will be available for sixth-graders in the fall and spring. The vaccine protects people from cancers caused by HPV that can come later in life, said Sue Williams, registered nurse and vaccine coordinator at the county health department.

The virus comes from close intimate contact with another person. “It’s very contagious,” Williams said. “It’s not an STD; it’s a virus. The vaccine is a way to prevent the infection from developing.”

While the vaccine is not required, it does prevent the human papillomavirus virus that can cause different cancers, like cervical, anal, vaginal, vulva, penile, mouth and throat cancer.

“This is about promoting public health in the long term,” Williams said. “Data has shown for the HPV vaccine that this age group (younger than age 15) is very prolific with immunity buildup. They can (be covered) with two doses. If a child is over 15, they will need three doses.”

School nurses have sent parents notification of the school clinics, Williams said. That information tells parents how to register online for the school clinics through the website, www.schoolcares.com.

The health department can also take appointments for students to get vaccines, and the department has some evening appointments available. Information is listed on the health department’s website, www.duboiscountyin.org/departments/health_department.

The State of Indiana has a program to cover the cost of the vaccines for people who don’t have insurance, who have Medicaid or who have insurance that does not cover vaccinations. Contact the health department, 812-481-7050, for information.

All of this can be confusing, Williams said. But she and others at the health department are available to help.

“It’s better to take preventative measures,” she said, “than to take care of something after it shows up.”




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com