Mobile pediatrics program answers community’s call with free immunizations
When the call came that 150 seventh-graders couldn’t attend school for not having state-required vaccinations, Laura Standish, RN, knew exactly what to do.
Within three days, Standish, obtained vaccines from the Tarrant County Public Health Department, recruited volunteers, set up operations in the Morningside Middle School library and was leading a free vaccination clinic on Aug. 29.
A Fort Worth Independent School District employee called Standish on Aug. 26, the first day of school, after "watching students being turned away from school because they didn’t have their required vaccinations," said Standish, Program Director for the mobile pediatrics program, operated by UNT Health with funding from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. "He asked if we could come provide vaccines and help get these children back in school. Of course we said we’d love to help."
The parents didn’t have the means to provide the immunizations, said Danny Fracassi, Assistant Principal, and appreciated the convenience of offering the shots at no cost at the school.
"Many times these children and families have difficulty getting to a clinic for routine check-ups and immunizations," Standish said. "The parents often have transportation issues, need financial assistance or have other barriers to health care access. We’re trying to alleviate those barriers to parents and provide access throughout the community."
Volunteers provided required immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough; chickenpox; meningitis; and the recommended fourth vaccine for human papilloma virus.
"These students have missed three days of school," Fracassi said. "Our kids need every minute in the classroom. This partnership with Morningside Children’s Partnership and UNT Health is a blessing to our children. This will keep them in the classroom, on task and prepared for education."