DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As Dallas County health officials work to improve childhood vaccination rates, they’re fighting the battle they believe they can win: addressing issues of access and transportation rather than focusing on misinformation that has prompted many parents to refuse life-saving vaccines.

“People forget how bad measles can be,” says Dr. Phil Huang, Director, Dallas County Health. “Before we had the vaccine, it killed 500 kids every year in the United States, so we can have this effective prevention, now, so it’s very important for everyone to get up to date on their vaccinations.”

Looking to avoid those last-minute, long lines at health department headquarters, the department is hosting immunization clinics in the Dallas community.

Families wait to get their children vaccinated in Dallas County (CBS 11)

The next one is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday at George Truett Elementary in East Dallas.

Friday’s clinic is scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at S.S. Conner Elementary.

Through a partnership with Dallas Police and community groups, a celebratory atmosphere is planned with free food for families and school supplies.

“I wish I would have known that, [and] saved a trip,” says Truett Mom Tiffany Wilson. “Ya know and just knocked it out.”

She says she’s already gotten her boys’ immunizations updated and is encouraging other parents to do the same.

“We have two more days, three more days left until school starts. Jump on it, now. It’s convenient, it’s going to be right here, and like I said, it’s important for the kids.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Huang says the department will continue to work to improve access to vaccines, which makes the community safer.

“As a community, for measles, it takes 95% of the persons to be vaccinated, that protects everyone, and it protects those people who legitimately can’t get the vaccine. So getting the immunizations up to those rates are important to protect everyone.”

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