News Release

February 18 , 2005

HDHHS to require appointments for children immunizations

Children will need appointments to receive immunizations at Houston Department of Health and Human Services’ (HDHHS) health centers starting March 1.

Only parents of children age 3 and younger will have the option of making appointments or continuing immunizations on a walk-in basis. Parents can schedule immunization appointments by calling HDHHS at 713-794-9999.

Babies and infants make up the main target of HDHHS’ immunization efforts since children need to receive 80 percent of the vaccinations they will need in their lifetime by age 2. Children are most susceptible to contagious and deadly diseases from birth to 2 years of age because they have yet to develop the antibodies necessary to fight off diseases.

To concentrate timely immunizations for children age 3 and under, HDHHS will no longer conduct August back-to-school immunization clinics at local shopping malls. More than 80 percent of those vaccinated at the malls were older children and adolescents, trimming down the number of immunization slots for those 3 and younger.

HDHHS urges parents not to wait until the start of school to vaccinate their children, whether they obtain immunizations at the city health centers or from private medical providers. Parents who keep their children up to date with immunizations are less likely to encounter appointment delays or long lines at the end of summer.
HDHHS offers vaccines on a sliding scale basis to those who have no other source of medical care. The vaccines are free for some clients while others pay $5 or $15.