Back to school vaccines free & available near you - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Back to school vaccines free & available near you

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's almost back to school time in South Mississippi, and that means you need to make sure your kids are up to date on their shots.

Little Jillian La Rosa is getting ready for her first year at Kindergarten. That means she needs to get the vaccines that are required for entering kindergarten in Mississippi. Jillian's mom, Susan LaRosa, decided to use Memorial Hospital's Immunization Van.

Registered nurse Donna Reid is the Immunization Van Supervisor, and said business is definitely picking up.

"As the summer eases on, we get busier and busier. A lot of parents like to wait until the last minute," Reid said.

The Memorial Hospital van works in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Health, offering free vaccines throughout the year to qualified families. Head Start Kids four and older get the same shots as kindergarten students.

But little ones aren't the only ones getting vaccines before school. Many teens are choosing to get vaccines that are recommended, but not required by the state. St Martin student Alex Prior, 16, said he's getting the shots because he'd rather be safe than sorry.

"I think it's important to stay safe and protect myself in as many ways possible," Prior said.

Health officials would like to see more teens like Alex, and his cousin Mary Mosgrove, who are choosing to get recommended vaccines. Reid said the numbers are low in Mississippi for adolescent shots, but stresses that vaccines are important for all ages.

"It's a public health issue. And it's important for protecting the children and the other people in the environment around them, to prevent vaccine preventable diseases," Reid said.

She hopes more parents will consider getting vaccines for their teens.

Memorial's van usually offers vaccines Monday through Thursday in various locations throughout South Mississippi. The van is scheduled to be at the Rite Aid in Long Beach on July 27 and Sam's Club in Gulfport on July 28. For a complete schedule, call (228) 867-4246.

You may also get your child's vaccines and vaccine information through the State Department of Health or your child's physician.

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