DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s that time of year again, when youngsters are reminded of the upcoming school year with a prick in the arm. It is time for parents to focus on vaccinations for schoolchildren.
On Saturday, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) will hold a free health clinic at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.
But there are some differences for children needing vaccinations this year. On January 1 there were changes to the Texas Vaccines for Children (TVFC) patient eligibility requirements.
“If you are low-income and do not have insurance the immunizations will be free,” DCHHS director Zachary Thompson explained during a morning news conference. “Now the state requires that those that have health insurance… we have to contact your health insurance company for the vaccines to be paid through your private insurance.”
Parents will need to bring their children’s shot records and those who are insured will also need to bring their insurance cards.
DCHHS said based on individual insurance polices and coverages, there may be a co-pay required.
Health officials are recommending that parents find whether they are TVFC eligible and also check with their insurance providers to find out if immunizations are covered.
“We feel that there is at least 15,000 children out there whose immunization records are no up to date.”
Several hundred people took advantage of the free health clinics last year, but Dr. Thompson said inevitably many parents put themselves and their children in a compromised situation.
“What normally happens is, we put on these free clinics on Saturdays, we stay open late, and two weeks before school starts everyone want to come to our facility to get their immunizations.”
Last year DCHHS had between 400 and 500 people per day seeking immunizations, in the two weeks before classes started.
DCHHS clinic locations are open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The main DCHHS clinic is open until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Appointments aren’t required at any location.
Ultimately Dr. Thompson said, “We don’t want kids in front of the Dallas County Health and Human Services building on the first day of school, trying to get shots. We want them in the classroom.”
Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church is located at 7550 South Hampton Road, Dallas, Texas 75232. The free immunization clinic will be held Saturday, July 21, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.