The Callaway County Department of Health will be offering immunization walk-in clinics in preparation for the school year.
The walk-in clinics will take place every Monday and Friday in August for people of all ages whether they have Medicaid, insurance through a private insurer or are uninsured. Scheduled appointments will be available every Wednesday this month as well.
"We just wanted to open it up so more people have access to immunizations," said Sharon Lynch, director of the Callaway County Health Department.
Lynch said all school-required vaccinations will be offered at the clinic, along with any adult immunizations such as a tetanus shot. Patients who are on Medicaid will be immunized free of charge, while uninsured patients will pay $15 per shot. Patients with insurance through private providers will have their insurance billed for the portion their provider will cover.
"Patients will only have to pay per needle," Lynch explained. "So if there's a shot that has three different vaccines in it, you will only have to pay for the one shot."
Lynch also emphasized the importance of immunizations in a time when complacency and occasional hostility have risen toward vaccines. She said she has seen some pushback in Callaway County.
"There's always a few people who are against it," Lynch said. "But if you look at history, before we had immunizations we lost hundreds of thousands of people per year to diseases that we don't even know exist anymore."
Lynch explained she believed that anybody has a right to take care of their children how they see fit, as long as they stay within the parameters of the law. However, parents need to educate themselves on the subject so they know they are putting their children at risk.
"In the early 20th century before vaccinations, there were so many children that died we had these things called 'mourning jewelry' for mothers of their children that died," Lynch said.
Lynch added, on Aug. 23, there will be no nurses available at the clinic until 2 p.m. due to prior commitments by the health department. The clinics began this week and run until the end of August.
This article was edited to correct the identity of the host of the immunization walk-in clinics.