SAN ANTONIO – Many children will soon be returning to school virtually, but that doesn’t mean they can skip their vaccinations since the state is still mandating vaccines for all students.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that regular vaccinations plummeted across the country when the pandemic hit, and families stayed home and missed well visits.
San Antonio doctors have confirmed they saw that trend as well.
“It’s a terrifying trend for health leaders. We don’t want to have a pandemic and then have some epidemics alongside it,” said Metro Health Immunization Clinic Supervisor Martha Groomer.
Groomer said she hasn’t seen reports of diseases like measles or mumps, but she said if kids don’t get vaccinated, that could easily change.
“We do know all it takes is for one person to be infected, and it spreads,” she said.
If your child is going back to school, it’s mandatory although there are some exemptions. The Texas Department of State Health Services has decided school vaccination rules are in effect for the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of whether the education is received virtually or in person. That goes for college students, too.
“They have to register to be at that school or to be part of the education curriculum. They will be asking for an immunization record, so they will know,” Groomer said.
The Metro Health clinic closed at the beginning of the pandemic. It will reopen August 17, but to take precautions, it won’t be accepting walk-ins.
Patients have to make an appointment, and everyone 2 and older will be required to wear a mask.
For those without insurance or a primary care doctor, there are clinics throughout the city providing free vaccinations:
- CentroMed: (210) 922-7000
- SA Pediatrics: (210) 223-3543
- University Health System: (210) 358-7020
- UIW School of Medicine, Vaccine for Children Outreach Program: (210) 207-8894
There are also specific vaccine programs that can help kids and teens: