Kansas City Health Department suggests parents get kids' immunizations early

The Kansas City Health Department wants parents to get their kids' back-to-school shots as soon as possible.

Last year, lines swelled to three-hour waits for immunizations. Right now, the wait for shots is around 30 minutes.

"Last year, we had a good turnout right before the school year," said Jeff Hershberger, of the Kansas City Health Department. "So there were people lined up through the waiting rooms, the atrium and out the door."

The health department says getting shots early is something parents can check of a to-do list.

"The last couple weeks before school, they're rushing around to get backpacks, school clothes and school supplies," Hershberger said. "A lot will forget about the immunizations and those are required."

Metro schools say they are tightening up restrictions on immunizations, too. So if a child arrives for the first day of class without up-to-date shots, they'll be sent home immediately.

Parents said it was important to start their children off on the right foot.

"Being prepared and starting early also teaches them to be more responsible during school," said Lesia Taylor, of Grandview. "It's part of my job as a mom to give them the best start they can possibly get."

Here's a list of vaccinations required for students:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (AKA DTaP)
  • Poliomyelitis (IPV/OPV)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
  • Hepatitis A

The health department also warns it won't be doing any more tests for tuberculosis until further notice. There's a national shortage of tuberculin, which is used in the tests.

"There's been an increased demand for the test. There are a lot more people whose jobs require the testing now, and because of the higher demand, the supply hasn't caught up, yet," Hershberger said.

There is still a blood test available that costs $100. The traditional skin test costs $20.

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