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Back on Track Yard Sign.jpg

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – School children in Tippecanoe County are falling behind on their standard vaccinations. Now, an Indiana nonprofit is partnering with the Indiana State Department of Health and Ivy Tech Community College to increase immunization rates.

The “Back on Track” clinic will offer all routine immunizations, including measles, mumps and polio. It will also provide flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines for children five and older.

Right now, 27% of K-12 students in Tippecanoe County are behind on shots. The number is even higher for high school seniors, with 40% of them not up to date. Both numbers are above the state averages of 25.6% and 34.6%, respectively.

Tippecanoe County health officer Dr. Jeremy Adler says he hopes parents will take advantage of the opportunity to help lower those statistics.

“This is a way to keep your children healthy,” Dr. Adler said. “It’s also a way to prevent the spread of these diseases in our schools and in our community. It actually helps to keep all of us safe when we’re up to date on vaccinations.”

The clinic, hosted by the health insurance nonprofit MDwise, will take place inside Ivy Hall at the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus on Creasy Lane. Ivy Tech Lafayette Dean of Nursing Sandy Fights says there are several factors contributing to children being behind schedule, but COVID-19 is a significant one.

“As a part of the pandemic, well-child visits, healthy checks, well baby checks, those kinds of things really slowed down,” Fights said.

Dr. Adler says access to healthcare is also adding to the problem.

“There are children and teenagers who unfortunately don’t have pediatricians or family physicians, and so some of the routine preventive care goes by the wayside,” Dr. Adler said.

Fights says it is that preventive care which must return to the forefront for the safety of everyone.

“When we get an outbreak of pertussis or something like that, it doesn’t impact just the child,” Fights said. “It will impact the rest of that family that they go back to.”

She encourages parents to attend the clinic, even if they do not know their child’s current vaccination status.

“We will have registered nurses and other healthcare professionals that will be here who can talk to you about where your child stands in terms of those,” Fights said. “They’ll be able to look up your child in the system. They’ll be able to have a conversation about what might be needed.”

The clinic runs March 30 from 3-7 p.m. Online registration is available through MDwise here, but it is not required to attend. If you register ahead of time, use the enrollment code IN97832 to sign up.

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