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Going to School Means Required Shots for Young and Older Student - KOAM TV 7

Going to School Means Required Shots for Young and Older Students:T-DAP

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

   School supplies aren't the only thing some kids need before heading back to school.

     School and health officials are urging families to act now to get booster shots to avoid being turned away on the first day of classes.

     And for some time's running out to get the shot for free.

Joplin health department nurse Jan Clark prepares three shots for the anxious four year old Tatum Berry who's heading to preschool in the fall. They'll combat diseases like polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. That’s the  shot known as T-DAP.

Tatum’s dad Josh Berry says, "They're required by the state and everything but it’s just for good health."

Clark says, “I believe you need those. There are diseases that still could pop up and are still around. That’s how we lose our herd immunity is by people  not getting vaccinated and  taking for granted that the people that have been vaccinated will protect their kids."

The T-DAP is a required booster shot for those heading into eighth grade too.  

Those on medicaid or without insurance can get them free through the city's Vaccine for Children program but those with insurance will need to act fast or pay to get it from a private physician.  

Joplin Health Department medical services director Cynthia Burnham says, "We order extra for the start of school. Now, the vaccine we have available for the insured people, the T-DAP in this age group, we only have  approximately forty doses left. We can only give that through September first. Once that day occurs or once we run out that will be pulled off the shelf and that's no longer available."

The health department will hold a special clinic on the first day of school but nurses are encouraging people to get the shot early.

Nurse Clark says, "It used to be that I’d come in at 7:30 in the morning    first day of school and there'd be a line around the building.  It’s kind of slowed down. It’s just out the door a ways and down the hill."

Burnham warns, "You go and your child is told you don’t enter the school until you have this vaccine. So they come and they have to get their shots that day or scheduled and they're not allowed in until they get that."

A little hurt now to avoid frustration later.

Tatum cried when stuck but her dad says, "She did good for getting three. Better than I probably would have."

  If doses are unavailable at the Joplin health department, those with insurance will need to get the T-DAP at a private physician which can require a co-pay and even the cost of the vaccination.  Or they can try the Jasper County health department which does file insurance.

     The Joplin health department has shot clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.

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