Philadelphia schools help students get caught up on routine vaccines

"Routine childhood vaccines protect children from things like measles, mumps and rubella," stated Dr. Julia DeJoseph.

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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The School District of Philadelphia is working with Delaware Valley Community Health to make sure students are up to date on their vaccines.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Andrea Bartha was with her son Matthew Motley at Maria de los Santos Health Center in North Philadelphia on Wednesday morning. The rising 12th grader had received his COVID vaccine in May but didn't realize he had fallen behind on others, including meningitis.

"We hadn't felt the need to go to the doctor's and didn't know he was missing a vaccine," Bartha explained. "If he's not sick, I'm not walking into a medical facility if I don't have to."

And they're not alone.

RELATED: Officials say mitigation measures are in place for Philadelphia students as COVID-19 cases climb

"We recognize that the routine well visits that many of our families and our children would participate in were impacted," said School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

As part of the back-to-school hustle and bustle, the School District of Philadelphia announced a partnership with Delaware Valley Community Health. Through appointments and targeted events, they are making a push to make sure students' state-mandated vaccinations are up to date. Also, August marks National Immunization Awareness Month.

"Routine childhood vaccines protect children from things like measles, mumps and rubella," stated Dr. Julia DeJoseph, chief medical officer of Delaware Valley Community Health. "And then we also have COVID-19 vaccines in the form of Pfizer for patients 12 and older."

RELATED: Kindergarten through 12th grade students can enroll in Philadelphia Virtual Academy

Currently, there are roughly 19,000 students in the district at risk of being excluded from the start of the school year. The district says that number is on par with normal, and they want to be proactive so students are ready to go for the first day of school.

Even students attending virtual school need the state-mandated vaccinations - insured and uninsured patients are accepted.

"With the pandemic people may have lost health insurance, may have lost coverage, may have list childcare and jobs and some financial concerns about whether they could get their children affordable healthcare," DeJoseph said.

CLICK HERE to register for a vaccine.