Are you and your children up-to-date on your immunizations? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. It’s easy for busy parents to fall behind on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommend vaccination schedule for their children and themselves – especially if money is a factor.
The good news? You can get your entire family the vaccines they need to keep preventable diseases at bay through the Detroit Health Department’s Immunization Clinic. This walk-in clinic, located inside of the Samaritan Center on the city’s east side, covers all community members, especially children, against 16 diseases including measles, meningitis and whooping cough by administering vaccinations regardless of a person’s ability to pay.
“All community members need access to health care, including vaccination coverage for preventable diseases,” says Teia Hill, RN, clinical operations manager for the immunization program. “The Vaccines for Children program is a fully-funded for those that are uninsured, under insured or Medicaid eligible, and a portion of the adult program is funded through the Michigan Adult Vaccine Program, so there’s no fee for those that qualify.”
In addition, the Detroit Health Department also provides vaccinations to those who come in with private insurance and provide outreach in the community through schools, homeless shelters and transition housing, and they work with other organizations to vaccinate those who may not have the means or the ability to get to their primary care provider or the Samaritan Center.
“We try to make as many connections as we can to as many community members as possible. The more people we are able to vaccinate, the less issue we’ll have with communicable disease, like chicken pox,” Hill adds. “For our children, we do the complete CDC-recommended child immunization schedule, across the lifespan including babies, children, teens, adults and seniors. Annually, we provide the flu vaccines for all ages.”
This breadth of coverage is especially important, because it only takes one person to spread disease. “Many diseases have been greatly reduced or even eradicated, but earlier this year, the community recently experienced an outbreak of measles with more cases than we’ve seen a while – approximately 40 confirmed cases in southeast Michigan – and a few cases were traced and connect to traveling abroad,” Hill says.
“The great thing about being vaccinated is that you’re protected wherever you go, here at home and your travels. The goal of the Detroit Health Department, in regard to immunizations, is protection and prevention.” And prevention is one of the reasons Detroit resident Makeyba Malone, who uses several other Detroit Health Department programs including SisterFriends and WIC, chose to get her 6-month-old daughter vaccinated.
“What if your baby gets sick and something happens because you didn’t get your baby vaccinated? I grew up not vaccinated, but she’ll get everything she’s supposed to get. She’s going to get it until she decides she doesn’t want to get it – but as long as she’s in my care, she’s getting (her vaccinations),” Malone says.
In an effort to offer resources and education for mothers, fathers, extended family members and caregivers, the Detroit Health Department and Family Community Health Division focuses on offering family-centered services that not only engage moms, but also resonates with fathers and nontraditional family units. Some of the services include: immunizations, safe sleep classes, lead testing, WIC, iDecide Detroit Teen Health Center, SisterFriends Detroit.
The Detroit Health Department’s Immunization Clinic is located inside of the Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner St., Detroit. Immunizations are given on a walk-in basis during regular operating hours. For more information on the Immunization Clinic or other family health offerings provided by the Detroit Health Department, visit detroitmi.gov/health or call 313-876-IMMS (4667).