As Aug. 25, the first day of school, draws closer, parents are reminded that children must have their inoculations up to date. Nevada law requires that all students be fully immunized before entering school.
“A lot of times, people wait till the last minute, but we’re here all year long,” said Stephanie Bethel, public information officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “You can bring your 5-year-old in February if you want.”
The Clark County School District requires the following vaccinations for students enrolling in public or private school: chickenpox (varicella); hepatitis A; hepatitis B; polio; tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap); and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). Parents who have recently moved to Nevada should note the chickenpox and hepatitis A vaccinations are not required in all states, so immunizations that were up to date in other states might not be current in Nevada. The health district also suggests a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine for school-age children as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about school district requirements, visit ccsd.net/parents.
Immunizations are available Monday through Friday at all health district locations. Hours for the district’s main facility, 330 S. Valley View Blvd., are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Southern Nevada Immunization & Health Coalition plans special shot clinics in August. Clinics are planned for: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 9 at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 at The Boulevard Mall, 3528 S. Maryland Parkway; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at Cashman Middle School, 4622 W. Desert Inn Road; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 22 at Whitney Elementary School, 5005 Keenan Ave.; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Southern Nevada Health District, 330 S. Valley View Blvd.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Galleria at Sunset mall, 1300 W. Sunset Road in Henderson; and 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 23 at the Valley View Recreation Center, 500 Harris St. in Henderson.
For more information, visit vaxvegas.org or call 702-616-4915.
Other sites are the East Las Vegas Public Health Center, 560 N. Nellis Blvd., Suites D-1 and E-12, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; the Henderson Public Health Center, 520 E. Lake Mead Parkway, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; and the North Las Vegas Public Health Center, 955 W. Craig Road, Suite 103D in North Las Vegas, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Destiny Duarte, 12, and her mother, Stephanie Armenta, were at the Southern Nevada Health District office in June so Destiny could get back-to-school shots before entering seventh grade. She needed three, including whooping cough and strep vaccines. Armenta opted to get Destiny the cervical cancer vaccine, as well. She credited earlier vaccinations, done before kindergarten, with keeping her daughter safe.
“She hasn’t had the chickenpox or anything because of her immunizations,” Armenta said.
Destiny admitted being a little apprehensive.
“When I get a shot, it feels like it’s going to hurt me,” she said. “It kind of scares me sometimes. I don’t really feel the needles, but the medicines, I do.”
Vaccines can help prevent diseases that once killed or harmed many people. Before the chickenpox vaccine was available, roughly 50 children died every year from it, with about one in 500 children hospitalized.
“If a person doesn’t get the immunizations, they can get vaccine-preventable diseases — pertussis, chickenpox, measles,” said MeeKee Chong-Dao, a community health nurse supervisor at the health district. “Right now, everybody thinks the diseases are going away, but they’re not. They’re actually coming back. There are more measles now than before and more pertussis than before and also polio is coming back. All these are preventable by being vaccinated, getting their shots.”
She said some parents express fear that getting the shots for their children will cause debilitating disease.
“We try to see what the fear is and have nurses in the clinics talk to them to see what their issues are,” Chong-Dao said. “A lot of times, people think vaccines cause autism, but we give them the resources that it’s not been proven and give them accurate information.”
Exemptions are made only for medical or religious reasons.
Some people have suggested that thimerosal (a compound that contains mercury) in vaccines given to infants and young children might be a cause of autism, and others have suggested that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine may be linked to autism.
“Numerous scientists and researchers have studied and continue to study the MMR vaccine and thimerosal,” the health district’s website said, “and reach the same conclusion: that there is no link between them and autism.”
Sometimes, one shot is not enough. Multiple doses help build up immunity or boost immunity that may fade in time.
Combination vaccines reduce the number of shots and office visits required, saving time, money and stress. Common combination vaccines include DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) and MMR (measles-mumps-rubella).
The Public Access Portal of the Nevada WebIZ external link program allows parents and legal guardians to print official immunization records for children up to age 17. It also allows adult individuals 18 or older to print official immunization records for themselves. To download immunization records, visit tinyurl.com/6pjk2ux or call 877-689-3249.
Vaccine costs vary based on the required inoculation. There is an administrative fee of $16 per child for one vaccine and $25 per child for two or more vaccines. Some vaccines may not be covered by insurance. For more information, visit southernnevadahealthdistrict.org or call 702-759-1000.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.