KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — With public school breaking for the summer, health authorities say now is the perfect time for parents to make sure their children get their annual checkup and are current on their vaccines.
The Knox County Health Department and East Tennessee Children's Hospital are joining together to remind everyone about the importance of looking after child health and welfare.
There are many area resources to ensure that happens.
Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan said in a statement Thursday that vaccines are proven to ward off against infections and disease.
“While many may have delayed care due to their concerns about the pandemic, doctor’s offices are safe places to visit," her statement reads.
National health authorities also just recently have cleared children ages 12 and older to get a Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19. The greater the number of people who get the shot, the better the chance of stopping the virus's spread.
Summer break is a good time to catch up on vaccinations, the hospital and KCHD say.
Until they get vaccinated, children are vulnerable to getting a number of dangerous diseases, including measles and whooping cough, according to Dr. Lori Patterson, director of infection control at Children's Hospital.
You can get shots for your kids from your pediatrician or from local pharmacies.
The Health Department also is a resource.
Make an appointment for your child at KCHD's headquarters at 140 Dameron Ave.
Appointments are open there 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays by calling 865-215-5070.
You can also make an appointment at the department's West Clinic at 1028 Cedar Old Cedar Bluff. Appointments are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays by calling 865-215-5950.
Adults are also reminded they can get a free COVID-19 vaccine through the Health Department. You can learn more about that here.
Also, according to the KCHD, all students entering preschool, kindergarten or seventh grade and those entering a Tennessee school for the first time in the fall should provide their child’s school with a state immunization certificate, which documents receipt of vaccinations. Certificates should be turned into schools by the first day of school in August. Both the immunizations and certificates are available at pediatrician offices or KCHD’s main location