Get prepared for school with immunization clinics

Jodi Schellenberg
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Mobile immunization clinics will be held next week to make it easier for parents to get their children vaccinated before school starts.

The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region will be hosting three mobile immunization clinics next week to help parents get their children up-to-date with their shots before school starts.

The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region will be hosting three mobile immunization clinics, Monday at St. Michael’s Community School, Tuesday at Crescent Heights arena and Wednesday at East End Rink parking lot, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“Every year we have done this for the past few years at the end of August for two reasons -- one to just increase accessibility for parents to bring their children in and to increase the awareness as well,” said Wanda Atcheson, director of public health services. “We just want to encourage parents to ensure their children are up to date for their preschool immunizations before starting back in to preschool or a lot the group activities that start up again in the fall.”

The health region protects against a number of communicable disease, including whooping cough, measles, mumps and others.

“The vaccines, when given on schedule and when children are up-to-date and have received all their immunizations for the age, receive really good protection against diseases,” she said. “Those diseases can be spread quite easily in large groups because many of them are spread through our respiratory system so when people cough, they are spreading disease.”

There have been growing reports of outbreaks -- such as measles and mumps -- not only across the country but around the world, due to parents either choosing not to immunize or forgetting to stay up-to-date.  

“That is what we want to do is reduce the chance that we will have an outbreak,” Atcheson said. “The better uptake we have of immunizations -- so the more of the population who are immunized -- then the less chance you have of having an outbreak of disease such as the ones we have heard most recently.”

Some parents have been choosing not to immunize due to reports of vaccines causing autism, something that has been proven false.

“That can be one of the reasons is that people have read information on the Internet and just get one side of the story,” Atcheson said. “We always encourage parents to get as much factual information as they can, to be cautious about what websites they are looking at and to make sure they are getting facts and make their decision based on looking at reliable information.

“The other thing that can hinder people from coming in is if they have issues with transportation or childcare, things like that, it can be very difficult for them to get into clinics as well,” she added. “We try to work with our population to make sure that we have clinics available in as many areas as possible so that doesn’t have to be a barrier for them.”

This year, they will not only be putting on a mobile immunization clinic -- they will also be providing health education, dental screening and safety car seat checks.

“We have some dental staff that will be there that can screen the children and make sure they are developing any cavities or aren’t at risk for developing them as well,” Atcheson said. “There has also been new legislation come in this last year for car seats and what size and age children need to be in car seats or booster seats in, so the staff will not only check the car seats to make sure they are properly used but that they are also the proper seat for the age and size of the child.”

Those who attend the clinics next week will be entered to win prizes -- not just at the three mobile clinics, but other immunization clinics in the health region as well.

Those who may not be able to make it to the clinics next week are not out of luck. Atcheson said there will also be two more clinics at the South Hill Mall on Sept. 6 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Organizations: Community School

Geographic location: Crescent Heights

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