Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2018

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Is your child up to date on vaccinations?

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Steve Marcus

Nurse Sheila Rivera gives a vaccine shot to Henry Pettit at the Southern Nevada Health District’s immunization clinic, 330 S. Valley View Blvd., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

What is required

• Two hepatitis A doses

• Two MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) doses

• Two varicella (chickenpox) doses

• Three hepatitis B doses

• Three or four polio doses

• Four or five DTP, DT, DTaP (diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus) doses

* For seventh-grade entry (ages 11-12), students need one MCV4 dose and one TDaP dose

* Note: Each of these immunizations has specific time requirements between dosing that must be followed to meet enrollment criteria.

School starts Aug. 13, and as parents hustle to purchase school supplies and new clothes for their children, vaccinations are another item to add to the to-do list.

State law requires that students have certain immunizations before enrolling in the Clark County School District. Unless excused for religious beliefs or a medical condition, a student may not enroll or attend a public school without the proper immunizations, said Lynn Row, director of health services for CCSD.

Medical exemptions include recent surgeries, compromised immune systems or cancer treatments.

“Children who aren’t immunized when there is an outbreak are the first students excluded from school because they’re not protected,” Row said.

The anti-vaccination movement

Anita Henderson, associate medical director for the department of pediatrics Southwest Medical associates, said initial concerns about vaccinations causing autism started in the 1980s and 1990s, but were based on one study.

“Since that time, though, the data has been debunked with multiple other studies—both prospective and retrospective studies—which have shown no connection with vaccinations causing autism,” Henderson said. “The rate of autism has increased, but there are multiple factors to that—diagnoses are way better than before. Before, some kids might not have been labeled as autistic.”

How and why vaccines work

There are approximately 16 vaccinations that can be used to prevent harmful disease and are spread throughout a child’s life, Henderson said. Afflictions such as polio used to be prevalent in the U.S., but are almost nonexistent because of vaccines.

They work by exposing the immune system to the disease, teaching the body how to fight it without infecting individuals with the negative symptoms.

“We also that know when parents decide not to vaccinate, we see outbreaks,” Henderson said. “Keeping the majority of kids in a group vaccinated is what helps keep unvaccinated individuals from acquiring disease.”

Short supply

The newest shingles vaccine, Shingrix, is temporarily unavailable nationally because of an overwhelming demand, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. Check if the vaccine is available in mid-August by calling 702-759-0850 or by checking with local pharmacies.

Where to go

The Las Vegas Valley has several locations that offer quick, affordable vaccination options. This is not a complete list.

Southwest Medical Associates

This vaccination event is for parents and children who are patients of Southwest Medical Associates. Call for more information at 702-877-5199.

• 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 28 at 4750 W. Oakey Blvd.

FirstMed Health and Wellness Center

Two of the three FirstMed Health and Wellness Centers in Las Vegas have clinics before the start of the school year. They’ll offer free back-to-school immunizations July 28 and Aug. 11. The immunizations will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis for Medicaid-eligible, uninsured or underinsured students.

“This is a great opportunity for parents to make sure their school-aged children are fully immunized before entering school and comply with Clark County school entry requirements,” said Pam Beal, chief operating officer at FirstMed, one of the health centers vaccinating kids. “Vaccines are safe, effective and protect our communities from diseases.”

Besides immunizations, other health services, such as dental education, vision screenings and Medicaid application and enrollment assistance, will be offered during these events.

Parents should bring shot records for each of their children if possible. Staff with Nevada

WebIZ, the web-based immunization registry program, will be there if a parent can’t locate or doesn’t have the necessary immunization records.

For more information on the back-to-school clinics, visit FirstMed Health and Wellness Centers website at fmhwc.org

• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, July 28 at 3343 S. Eastern Ave.

• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, August 13 at 3940 N. Martin Luther King Blvd. #105B

CCSD back-to-school fair

The CCSD fair is formed through partnerships between the district, community agencies, nonprofits and businesses. School-required immunizations will be available for insured and uninsured students on a first-come, first-served basis.

CCSD vaccination costs operate on a sliding scale from no co-pay to low-fee and no charge, depending on the family’s insurance plan.

• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, August 4 at Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane

Southern Nevada Health District

The Southern Nevada Health District offers immunizations at reduced rates. Clients must arrive before 4 p.m. Vaccine costs vary based on type, and the health district charges an administration fee of $20 per person for one vaccine and $8 for every additional vaccine. Parents should anticipate longer wait times in August because of the back-to-school rush.

In addition to its three locations in the Valley, the health district also has a mobile clinic. For dates and times, visit southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/mobile-clinic/index.php.

• Monday-Friday year-round

• 702-759-0850 | snhd.info

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed incorrect dates for the Clark County School District's back-to-school fair. | (July 31, 2018)