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Local health department eases access to childhood immunizations

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Across the Valley, medical professionals are pushing the COVID-19 vaccine for their patients.

Augusta Health's vaccine drive in Feb. 2021
Augusta Health's vaccine drive in Feb. 2021(WHSV)

With school starting up, though, the Central Shenandoah Health District has turned their attention to childhood immunizations. They’ve begun offering vaccination clinics at back-to-school events to help increase access to required vaccines, as well as to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jordi Shelton, Communications Specialist with the health district, says they’re making sure parents are up-to-date on required vaccines.

“It’s really important now, more than ever, as we have seen a significant delay in childhood immunizations due to parents maybe not taking their children in for routine medical visits during the pandemic,” Shelton said.

She says bringing vaccinations to people eases a lot of pressure on everyone.

“Increasing access to those vaccines as well as the COVID-19 vaccine for all eligible students and families in one place is really convenient,” she said.

However, not every family has taken advantage of the vaccine clinics.

“The overall response at the back-to-school events has been low for both COVID-19 vaccines and for other childhood immunizations,” Shelton said.

Even though vaccine on site has been low, she says many people are making appointments through the health district. In the last year, they’ve seen those appointments decrease, but now, she says they’re going back up.

“We have seen a significant increase in our childhood immunizations and our local health department immunization clinic, so people are getting them, they just may not be getting them at these events,” Shelton said.

For more information about what vaccines are required by the state, please visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

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