School is still a month away, but now is the time to get your student vaccinated or updated on his or her vaccines.
If you cannot remember which shots you or your child has had, or if your child has never been vaccinated, look no further than your local Greenlee County Health Department.
“Those that are going into kindergarten, they will be needing a series of vaccinations to enter school,” Greenlee County Health Department director Misty Gregory said. “I want the public to know they can reach out to us at the health department, and we can check to see if they’re updated on their vaccinations.”
The staff at the Greenlee County Health Department can access a statewide database that lists all the vaccines children have received in Arizona.
This not about COVID vaccines; that’s something different. What Gregory, a registered nurse, will give you or your student are the vaccines that prevent childhood diseases but can also afflict adults.
If you do not have a pediatrician or cannot afford to go to the doctor, Greenlee County Government Health and County Services can help.
“We’re all about getting them all immunized,” Janice Lovett said. She’s a licensed practical nurse who runs the health department show in Duncan.
It’s not just babies and kindergartners who need vaccines. Older children need boosters.
“The 11 to 12 year olds, they have some vaccinations that are requirements to be in school,” Gregory said. Those include the chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, and meningococcal vaccines; and possibly the papillomavirus vaccines.
Gregory recommends and offers to 16-year-old students a meningococcal B vaccine and a second dose for meningococcal.
Also, everyone should get a yearly flu shot, Gregory said, though it’s not required.
If you or your student has missed some vaccines along the way, Lovett said they can help you get caught up.
“Nobody has to start over,” she added.
What about adults?
Adults are not exempt from getting vaccines.
“We should get tetanus,” she said. “We need a booster for pertussis. We need shingles. We need our flu shots. We need our hepatitis A and hepatitis B shots, in a lot of cases depending on your profession or your job. Adults definitely need their vaccines as well.”
There’s also a one-time pneumonia shot available for adults.
If it seems like a lot to remember or will cost too much, help is available. There are guidelines but many may be eligible for free vaccines.
“For (Greenlee County residents) to be eligible, they should be Medicaid-enrolled, have no health insurance, American Indian or Alaskan native, or underinsured,” Gregory said. “They can call us, we can go over the screening criteria and the eligibility criteria with them, and then schedule them if they qualify.”
Even if you have insurance, you may still qualify for free vaccines. Gregory said the best thing to do is reach out to the health department.
Vaccines are given at the Clifton and Duncan locations.
“Vaccines are safe and they save lives,” she said. “People need them.”
At the Center for Disease Control website it’s easy to see what’s needed and when to get it. Look for that information here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html
For information or to make an appointment at the Greenlee County Health Department in Clifton, call 928-865-2601. In Duncan, call 928-359-2866.