News Release

May 16, 2001


Houston Health Officials Stress Immunizing Children in May, June

Parents with children entering school for the first time this fall are strongly encouraged to have their children immunized by the family’s private physicians as soon as possible. Health officials at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) are predicting waits up to four hours or longer at public immunization sites this summer due to the regional nursing shortage.

"When parents delay immunizing their babies on time, they risk leaving their children vulnerable to many vaccine-preventable diseases before they enter school," says HDHHS Director M. desVignes-Kendrick, MD, MPH. "This summer, the issue most likely to cause problems will be trying to get children immunized in time for school. If parents keep all their children up to date on the immunization schedule, they will not have appointment problems or encounter long lines in the summer."

"We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for parents to take their children to their family physician as soon as possible to complete the required immunizations," says HDHHS Immunization Bureau Chief Brock Lamont. "Most pediatricians are completely booked in the months of July and August with school physicals and immunizations, so families should make appointments now. If you are planning to wait and go to a public clinic in July or August, be prepared to wait up to four hours or more. If you immunize your children now, you can avoid long lines or delays in getting in school."