Department of Health focusing on kids’ immunization before school

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – The state health department wants to ensure students are up-to-date on vaccines before the start of the new school year.

The department launched the “Start Smart” website, which provides information on immunization clinics for kids at least 5 years old. The clinics are free. The Indiana Department of Health is also sending letters to parents whose children may be behind on a required immunization.

IDOH released the following:

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has partnered with local health departments and other healthcare entities across the state to host back-to-school immunization clinics this summer as part of a statewide public awareness campaign to help families easily access required and recommended school immunizations prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year.

The Start Smart campaign includes a map showing dates, times and locations of community immunization clinics. The map can be found at https://startsmart.health.in.gov/. The clinics are open to children ages 5 and older. Families will not be charged at the site of the clinic but should provide insurance information if available.

“Over the last two years, immunization rates for diseases like measles, mumps and chicken pox have fallen 10 percent across Indiana, which puts children at greater risk of highly contagious, yet highly preventable, diseases,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “While many parents already have appointments scheduled with their child’s pediatrician, we know that some may be having difficulty with access. These community clinics bring the services to areas with the greatest need to help ensure every child is protected before they walk into the classroom.”

IDOH is also mailing letters to parents of children whose state immunization records show they are behind on a required immunization. A list of immunizations required for school can be found here.

“Immunizations are an essential part of keeping students healthy, and we encourage every family to take advantage of these local opportunities to get their children caught up and take one important task off their back-to-school checklist,” Dr. Box said.