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Minute Clinic hopes to help students across DFW get the vaccinations they need to start the year strong
By Kaitlin Pennell, Staff writer
As summer comes to close, students and parents alike may find themselves wrapped up in back-to-school shopping. Something students may not think about, however, may be more important: getting caught up on vaccinations.
"[Meningitis and pertussis] are more prevalent when you're around a large group of various people at a time," said Doris Harvey, manager of operations and nurse for Minute Clinic. "That's why we need to get these students vaccinated, and [it's a requirement] in the state of Texas regardless."
According to the CDC, the United States faces a pertussis -- better known as whooping cough -- epidemic; in 2010, the country reported the most cases of the disease since 1959. Although it is most commonly found in infants, everyone, including adults, is susceptible to the illness. In some cases, the illness can prove fatal to young children.
"Pertussis is beginning to rapidly escalate again as a disease," Harvey explains. "We typically see a spike in outbreaks every three-to-five years, so it's about that time again. Adults usually recover from the disease fairly rapidly -- if they even get the disease. Our focus is on the little ones. That's why we are encouraging a lot of adults to go ahead and get the vaccination so they can't pass on the illness to their children."
Pertussis is an airborne sickness that can be spread unknowingly. The state of Texas requires all students entering secondary school to receive a pertussis vaccination to prevent spreading the disease. A meningitis vaccination is also required by the state. The mandated vaccination requirements have been effective since the 2011-2012 school year. Vaccinations are also required for students entering colleges.
"[The CDC] is anticipating high outbreaks in both meningitis and pertussis, which is why I think the state has made this a requirement for all grade levels recently," Harvey said. "College-bound students are required to have their meningitis vaccination updated prior to the school year as well, whether you're attending on or off campus."
At Minute Clinic, medical clinics located inside selected CVS Pharmacies, vaccinations are available seven days a week with no appointment necessary. Harvey said they have been successful in giving a large amount of people the vaccinations they need.
"We've had a lot of students coming in asking to get vaccinated," she said. "A lot of times, doctor's offices do not carry a large amount of vaccines because they're so expensive and they've been out of vaccinations on and off for the past year or so. Here at Minute Clinic, we have vaccinations readily available for everyone."
Harvey advised students to always be up-to-date with their vaccinations and to thoroughly wash their hands multiple times a day in order to prevent illnesses during the school year.
"You can use hand sanitizer too, but you have to wait until it dries so it can begin to work. That's the key," she explained. "But the best way to keep kids healthy is staying on top of vaccinations. Also, children should take vitamins to stay healthy and know how to properly sneeze and cough to prevent the spread of germs. You can never go wrong with good hand washing too."
Minute Clinics were recently opened in two new Frisco and Plano locations in addition to its previous 23 centers in the area. The new Frisco clinic is located inside of the CVS Pharmacy on 5401Lebanon Road, and the new Plano clinic can be found at 8940 Coit Road.
The clinics are not limited to vaccinations, however. Sports physicals, treatment for common family illnesses such as pinkeye and strep throat, along with prevention and wellness information are also available at the clinics. Minute Clinic accepts most insurance plans.
"We do a lot of sports physicals and vaccinations," Harvey said. "We are able to see a lot of patients without an appointment so they can get on with their lives. Our prices are very affordable and there's always a large staff on hand at all times so we can get through everyone."