Seward County Health Department saw approximately 30,000 clients in the last year and gave 8,000 vaccinations to people of all ages. Courtesy photo
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
Immunizations are considered one of the top ways for people to stay healthy, and the Seward County Health Department is helping with that.
The department saw approximately 30,000 clients and gave 8,000 vaccinations to people of all ages.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has a calendar of sorts that tells people, from infancy, when to get certain vaccinations.
“If they were 2 months old, they would get a PediaRix which includes their D-TaP, their Hepititus B and IPV (which is polio),” explained Charley Madden, a registered nurse at the Seward County Health Department. “And then they would get the pneumococcal. They would also get a HiB for the haemophilus influenza Type B, and then we would give them for the rotovirus.”
Madden said that overall, the flow of people coming in for vaccinations is pretty steady and people of all ages come in. However, she added that there is somewhat of a spurt during flu and school enrollment seasons.
“When flu season does approach, we do get a variety of age groups for the flu vaccine, and a lot of the population they just come in for that shot. So starting about September, October we see some of those,” she said. “The school nurses have been very good about sending out letters before, reminding them of what vaccines are due before school gets out and then periodically throughout the year, so that has helped out a lot for us.”
Madden and Vicki Hecox, another registered nurse at the Seward County Health Department, say they encourage people to get vaccinated.
“Our immunizations are what protect us from illness,” Madden said. “Without immunizations there would be outbreaks – for example back in the polio days, people without vaccinations got polio, so we encourage everyone to immunize because immunization is the best prevention.”
“The vaccines are giving us immunity to diseases that would otherwise be rampant,” Hecox added. “So they’re preventable with the vaccine.”
Both Madden and Hecox also talked about potential side effects of vaccines, the most common one being a small fever and some swelling and redness at the injection site. They both also said that they get a few questions from people regarding the vaccines they are given.
“They do ask if they can give them Tylenol, and we tell them that if their temperature is over 101 then we do advise to have Tylenol, but nothing containing aspirin products,” Madden said. “And then we do encourage them to go out and walk or play to help with some of the soreness.”
Hecox also talked about why they encourage people and their children to get vaccinated.
“The way the immunization representatives that come and sell us the vaccines say it, ‘If you were a parent, would you rather a politician in Topeka told us what vaccines your children needed...or would you rather have a committee with doctors and nurses and people like that on that committee to decide,’ which ones are healthiest for your children?’” Hecox said. “A lot of times they come in here and they only want the required ones for school even though we offer all that’s recommended, and so we feel like they need to be getting what the Advisory Committee Immunization Practices recommends.”
“And if a parent is in doubt and they don’t know if their child needs vaccines, all they have to do is stop by the health department and ask to have their shot record checked, and we’ll check it out for them,” added Madden.