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In an effort to reach out to sixth-graders, who will be required to get the Tdap vaccine before entering seventh grade, the Auglaize County Health Department is providing school-sponsored clinics throughout the county.
State-provided vaccinations are administered to students through the clinics, which are held at the convenience of students and parents at a variety of locations offsite in each community.
Through the clinics students can receive the Tdap vaccine, which is a combined formula for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, for $10.
“We hope we are able to work something out there,” said Brenda Eiting, a registered nurse for the Health Department’s Immunization Department.
She said when families take advantage of the school-sponsored clinics they have seen a much higher percentage of participation.
“Working together, it benefits us and the schools,” Eiting said.
Clinics to be offered during the school day are scheduled for Tuesday, March 6, in New Knoxville; Friday, March 9, in St. Marys; Tuesday, March 13, in New Bremen; and Tuesday, March 20, in Minster.
Clinics have not yet been scheduled for Wapakoneta or Waynesfield.
The first year of the new state requirement, employees of the Health Department were able to go into schools and administer the state-provided vaccine. To do that now, the state requires a large percentage of the students at a school to qualify for free and reduced lunches, with none of Auglaize County’s schools meeting that requirement.
No longer able to go into the schools directly, county health officials and school administrators continue to work closely together to ensure that students receive the required vaccine.
“A lot of times, it’s not on people’s minds until the time is up,” Eiting said of the clinics offering an easy way for parents to get their students the needed vaccine. “It helps get it done and taken care of. Everyone’s busy. At least this is something they can check off their list.”
As extra incentive, the Health Department is again partnering with the Auglaize County Fair Board to provide all students who attend the clinics with a free one-day pass to the fair this summer.
“It worked out great last year,” Auglaize County Nursing Supervisor Cindy Jones said. “They want to get kids exposed to the fair and we need kids to get this vaccine.”
Eiting said they also are recommending other vaccines for 11- and 12-year-old youths but those are only being provided at the Health Department’s regular clinics offered throughout the month.
The Tdap vaccine also can be administered, along with other vaccines, to students during the Auglaize County Health Department’s regular immunization clinics from 8 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday for walk-ins and by appointment-only from 3 to to 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Health Department, at 214 S. Wagner St., in Wapakoneta. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays there also is a walk-in clinic at the Council on Aging, 610 Indiana Ave., in St. Marys.