By: Sarah Snyder
If you're a kid in school chances are moving up from elementary school to junior high is a pretty big deal. But not only are the new seventh graders here in West Texas loading up on school supplies - they're also loading up on vaccines.
Thursday marked the first travel day for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile - the nurses tell NewsWest, they're seeing about 20 children every day, but this summer, the clinic is needed more than ever after state lawmakers changed immunization requirements.
"I'm a little nervous about the shots," Monahans 7th Grader, John Michael Humphries, said.
Before heading back to the classroom, new 7th graders like John Michael, have to get three new shots.
"7th graders in the state of Texas will now need three new vaccinations to be able to start school," Tamara Bavousett, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, said. "They need the TDaP which is the Tetanus and Pertussis Booster, the MCV which is the Meningoccocal vaccine, and they will also need the Varicella which is the Chicken Pox vaccine if they haven't had the disease."
Health care providers tell NewsWest 9, a disease called Pertussis, similar to the whooping cough, has re-emerged this year. The state also added the Meningitis vaccine in response to the ongoing threat.
"It can be deadly, so we're trying to vaccinate the children early that are in junior high to protect them now and when they're in their college years," Bavousett said.
And with only a few weeks left before school registration dozens of families are seeking help from the Care Mobile.
"It's good, I'm glad I didn't have to travel to Odessa," Humphries said.
And his grandmother says, the Mobile Health Care Clinic has made a huge impact on their family.
"I don't have to go all the way to Odessa," Trina Orona, John Michael's Grandmother, said. "It's easier right here and I don't have to wait long hours at the doctor's office either."
"We've seen many 7th graders, but I know there's many more out there that have not got their vaccinations yet," Bavousett said. "Also we'll be offering a free health clinic with the Family Health Center at Floyd Gwin Park from 10:30 to 1:00 on Saturday the 25th and those vaccines will be free for children ages 4-18 years."