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Victoria Rotary clubs ready for free childhood immunization clinic

Aug. 11, 2011 at 3:11 a.m.


JoAnne Settles has seen the world of childhood vaccinations change in the past 18 years - at least from Victoria's standpoint.

"The rates are much better," Settles said.

Settles is a co-chair of Shots Across Texas, a free yearly immunization clinic hosted by the Victoria Rotary Club, Northside Rotary Club and Sunrise Rotary Club. Settles is with the Sunrise Rotary.

The Aug. 20 clinic will cover newborns up to 18 years old, Settles said.

Under Texas law, children are required to receive vaccinations to enroll in school.

The event is the largest and only free clinic available in Victoria, Settles said.

"We've been all over town," said Settles, referring to the previous places where their clinic has been.

The first event was held at the health department in downtown Victoria in the early 1990s. It also has been at both malls, both hospitals and even the Texas Zoo.

For the past several years, the event has been at Victoria College's Health Science center.

Aside from vaccinations, the event has a wellness roundup featuring health services, like free dental and vision screenings.

When the event first started, about 40 percent of kids who started school had their vaccinations correct. Today, that number is in the upper 90 percentile, Settles said.

The Victoria school district is thankful for events like Shots Across Texas, said Diane Boyett, the district's communication specialist.

"Immunizations are the driving force," she said. "It's not only your children you're saving from potentially very serious illnesses, but other children."

The vaccinations are provided by the state, and the event usually vaccinates about 200 children, Settles said.

"We're here to fill in the gaps," she said.

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