DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As parents get their children up to date on their mandatory immunizations before they head back to school, doctors at Parkland Hospital say students over 12 should also receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The safest precaution parents can take to prevent COVID-19 infection from spreading is vaccinating their children,” said Suzette Baez, MD, pediatrician at Parkland’s Vickery Health Center. “Children have spent much of the past year socially distanced, but now that they are headed back to school it is important that they are vaccinated against this deadly virus.”

Before entering kindergarten, Texas children are required to have been vaccinated for Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis; Polio; Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); Hepatitis B; Varicella; Meningococcal; and Hepatitis A.

Those in daycare must also be vaccinated.

For older students, a Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis booster and Meningococcal vaccines are required for school.

Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) health centers and Youth & Family centers located throughout Dallas County offer immunizations without an appointment on Wednesdays.

Parents can bring their children on “Walk-in Wednesdays” to get all of their immunizations for back-to-school.

Immunizations during Walk-in Wednesdays are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parents can still walk-in with their children for vaccinations on other days, but appointments are recommended.

To schedule an appointment for your child at a Parkland COPC health center, call 214-266-4000.

To schedule an appointment at a Youth & Family Center, please call 214-266-1257.

COVID-19 vaccinations are not currently offered at Parkland’s COPCs.

For people 12 and older, COVID-19 vaccines are available at pop-up events located throughout Dallas County. T

he COVID-19 vaccine is offered at no cost to you and you do not need an appointment.

To find a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site near you, click here.

Parkland also offers COVID-19 vaccinations to those 12 years and older at:

· Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S. Polk St., Dallas, 75232 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday.

· Vaccination appointments for COVID-19 can be scheduled at Parkland COPCs by calling 214-590-7000 Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parkland accepts Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and most major insurance plans.

If you do not have insurance,

Parkland can provide financial screening to determine if patients qualify for financial assistance. In addition, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help.

The VFC program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger, who are not insured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian or Alaska Native.

CBSDFW.com Staff