LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – There's one must-have school supply and your kids will be sent home without it. Vaccines are mandated by the Department of State Health Services and local health districts are pushing for parents to avoid the back to school rush.
Angela Bergeron holds 4-year-old Serenity as she gets stuck seven times.
"She has to register next Monday morning for school and it's better to have them then, because any time after that the office takes forever," explained Bergeron.
The Angelina County and Cities Health District's Immunization Director Sarah Adams said Bergeron is right. Wait times are low in July, but in August, they vaccinate about six thousand kids.
"We're not only vaccinating the kids that attend Lufkin ISD, but it's Diboll, Huntington, Hudson, and Zavalla," said Adams.
She said because you don't have to have an appointment at the health district, about a week before school starts the line for vaccinations will be out the front doors.
"You want to go ahead and get your child immunized so that the vaccine has had enough time to build up protection," Adams said.
On top of regular shots, kindergarteners need to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Varicella. Seventh graders need a Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) along with a Meningitis shot. Now the state requires college freshman living in dorms to have also have Meningitis shot.
"A good friend of my brother's actually died of meningitis at the Naval Academy so I guess it's just really taught me to be prepared," said Meagan Adams who will be attending Baylor in the fall.
"They said you have to have it 10 days before you move in, so I'm just going to go ahead and get it out of the way," explained SFA Freshman Breiann Fryar.
For Bergeron, her daughter's shots are one more thing she can cross off her back to school list.
"We've already got backpacks and some of her school clothes," said Bergeron.
Now Serenity will focus on the better parts of her supply list and starting pre-k at Herty Primary School.
The Angelina County and Cities Health District is open for immunizations Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring an up-to-date immunization record and it's $10 regardless of the number of shots your child needs. A TB test is an additional $10 and they accept Medicaid and CHIP. For more information on what vaccination your child needs go here.