Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

March 8, 2014

Bullard meningitis vaccines important for young adults

FitCounty's Day in the Park set for April 5

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

BULLARD — A meningitis vaccine clinic will be held March 20 at Bullard High School for local juniors and seniors needing the shot as part of college entrance requirements.

“I’m not sure of the number, but we’ve got a sign-up sheet for the clinic,” for which school officials are working with Goode’s Medicine Chest Pharmacy of Tyler, said district nurse Celeste Bochow.

District officials decided to provide the service when they realized that although the vaccine is required, “some of our seniors don’t have it yet, so we wanted to make it convenient so they don’t have to miss school,” Bochow said. “It’s kind of a catch up phase for our seniors.”

Making sure families are healthy is a major aspect of the upcoming FitCounty’s “Day in the Park.” The event is sponsored by the Cherokee County Health Department.

According to Cherokee County Public Health clinical services manager Cheryl Hill, national Center for Disease Control guidelines recommend that children receive the vaccine at 11 or 12 years of age,

“A new change this year is that a booster dose be given at age 16 because teens ages 16-21 have the highest risk of contracting the disease,” she said.

Because it is required for college, young adults must have received the vaccine within five years prior to enrolling in college, she said.

“The disease is not very common but it is very important to have children vaccinated at the appropriate intervals to protect them during those ages when they are at the highest risk for contracting it,” she said.

About 10 percent of individuals who contract the disease die despite receiving proper treatment, “so it is very serious,” Hill said. “Permanent hearing loss, limb loss and brain damage are among some of the lasting side effects of those that do recover.”

CCHP offers the vaccine through the Texas Vaccines for Children program for children up to 18 years of age, and accept Medicaid and CHIPS. Private insurance holders must file through their plan.

The fee for the Bullard vaccine clinic is $135, and parents can file through their insurance provider, Bochow said.

Pharmacy manager Julie Rothrock said school districts interested in setting up a similar clinic can contact the pharmacy, which is “certainly open to anybody doing this.”

“We’re working on special rates to provide this (on campuses), although we do offer the vaccine at our different Tyler stores,” she said.

“As far as going on site, this is a huge need for kids who are getting ready to go to college, and we want to try and meet that need,” Rothrock added. “I don’t know how many schools have actually thought about being a provider, that liaison for those students who have this need, but we’re hoping to be able to approach more schools to see if they are interested in that one stop opportunity for those families.”

In Bullard, parents appear to be thrilled that the district is offering the service, Bochow said.

“What I have heard is that they are happy that we’re doing this, because it’s a convenience for them,” she said.

To learn more about the Bullard meningitis vaccine clinic, contact BISD nurse Celeste Bochow at 903-894-3272 or email celeste.bochow@bullardisd.net. For information about establishing a vaccine clinic through Goode’s Medicine Chest Pharmacy, contact Grande Boulevard manager Julie Rockroth at 903-939-8500. Cherokee County Public Health officials can be reached at 903-586-6191.

For more health-related topics, join the Cherokee County Health Department's FitCounty event April 5. "A Day in the Park" is a family-friendly event from 9 a.m. to noon at the Jacksonville Baseball Complex, 1923 Byrd Road.