E. Texas health officials: Immunize kids before it gets busy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Every year the Angelina County and Cities Health District says there's a long line for students needing shots in August. They say get your child's shots now and avoid waiting for hours.

As a parent, Etoyce King knows the importance of keeping Euriah Brown up-to-date with his shots.

"You just go ahead and get it done early before everyone else so you don't have to wait," says Etoyce King.

"Right now there is zero waiting. I mean you're in, processed and you're back out the door within 10 minutes. If you wait until August, you're going to have anywhere from an hour to two hour wait and you're going to be fighting 200 other parents that are trying to have their kid immunized," says Sarah Adams the ACCHD Immunization director.

The waiting room may be pretty empty now, but wait a couple weeks and we're told the line will be out the door and around the corner because when it comes to shots, this health district serves not only Angelina County, but all of East Texas.

"We are a public health clinic. Anyone can come in to get shots and it doesn't matter if you need one or seven shots, it's a flat fee of ten dollars," says Adams.

Along with all the shots for grade school students, now the state requires college freshman living in dorms to have a meningitis shot.

"While it may be elective in some situations, with all of our patients, we strongly urge a primary vaccination as well as a booster prior to entry into college," says George Fidone, a M.D. at the Children's Clinic.

Fidone is teaming up with the Junior League of Lufkin to immunize students at the back to school bonanza in August.

"Vaccines by and large are extremely safe and the millions, tens and hundreds of millions of diseases that they have prevented in kids far outweigh the extremely rare risk of a serious adverse event," says Fidone.

So cross one item off your back to school list early and keep your child from being sent home on the first day.

The health district does accept Medicaid and the state's children's health insurance program.

Angelina county children can be pre-screened to be eligible for the back to school bonanza at the Buckner Children's and Family Services on Daniel McCall Drive.

The bonanza will be at the First United Methodist Church in Lufkin on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

The TB skin test is an additional $10.

The Angelina County and Cities Health District is open for immunizations Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

If you need to know what immunizations your child needs, call them at 936-633-0661 or click here.

For more information on the Junior League of Lufkin's Back to School Bonanza click here.

The Junior League is also looking for additional volunteers to participate at the Back to School Bonanza, in particular, hairdressers for the haircuts being provided to the children and dental professionals for the dental screenings.

If a hairdresser wants to participate they can contact Kathi White, Haircut Chair at 936-212-1308 or kwhite01@consolidated.net.  Any dental hygienists or dentist wanting to volunteer their time may contact Heather Robertson, Dental Chair at 671-9913 or hroberts@lufkinisd.org.   For questions, contact Shelli Ellis at 631-1892 or ellisfamily@consolidated.net.