BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The back-to-school season is finally here. But on top of shopping for clothes and classroom supplies, it's also important to get the required immunizations.
One Bakersfield grandmother got a call from her grandson’s school about not being able to attend this year if he wasn’t up to date with his vaccines. But with many families facing this same issue, she wasn’t able to get an appointment with his doctor. That’s why they came to get vaccinated at a public health clinic.
Jace is heading to first grade at Granite Point Elementary School but his grandmother, Bonnie Chamberlain says he wouldn’t have been able to start if he didn’t get vaccinated on Tuesday.
“Jace had fallen behind on his vaccines, and we need to hurry and get them handled before school started, and I had been looking for a month to try and get him into a doctor.”
But she had no luck getting him vaccinated until she found out about a Kern County Public Health back-to-school vaccination clinic.
“And I got a text from the school and they informed me of this setup and it was a blessing. It was a blessing to find it.”
Not only are the vaccines mandatory public health says they also protect children and their families.
“Those COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for children, are available, and can be administered at the same time, so talk to your medical provider," explained Michelle Corson with Kern County Public Health. “We want to remind everyone that vaccines really do prevent infectious diseases and without these vaccines, your children are at risk for developing illness and suffering from diseases like measles and whooping cough.”
Immunizations Coordinator Anne Walker with Kern County Public Health says they know the Chamberlain family is not the only one having trouble getting their children the immunizations they need for school.
“We know that the provider’s offices that they fill up this time of the year. People can’t get in for months sometimes, and so we want to be able to provide this service to the community to ensure again that the kids are in school, and don’t have to be held out of school for weeks or months at a time.”
Public Health also says you can get the other immunizations for your children along with the COVID vaccine at the same time.
“We offer all pediatric vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine," says Walker. "We also have adult vaccines for those adults who are required to be assisting with the childcare facilities.”
And while Jace was not thrilled about getting five vaccines Tuesday he’s now ready to begin first grade on August 17th.
“It was truly a blessing. A blessing when I got that text saying we can get it handled and he can start school now,” said Chamberlain.
The vaccination clinic will be open until the end of next week. To book an appointment, you can call the number below.
What Vaccines are Required for School in California?
For students K-12, they will need:
- 5 doses of Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP)
- 4 doses of the polio vaccine (3 doses are ok if one was given on or after 4th birthday)
- 3 doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine (this is not required for 7th-grade entry)
- 2 doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
- 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine
The California Department of Public Health also says students who are homeless or in foster care are still subject to immunization requirements. If they arrive with no immunization records, then schools should utilize their resources to make sure students have received all required vaccines.
These vaccine requirements do not apply to students in a home-based private school or those enrolled in an independent study program who don't receive classroom-based instruction.
For any questions about immunizations, be sure to visit the California Department of Public Health website.
If you need to get your child a vaccine there are several clinics across Kern County taking place within the next couple of weeks. Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Thursday the mobile clinic which is located at 2800 K Street is accepting appointments.
There will also be a clinic at the Walmart on Gosford Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, August 15th.