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Dozens of students receive free vaccines in Columbia

A new school year is on its way, and besides stocking up with new supplies and clothes, students are also gearing up with the latest vaccinations for free.

On Saturday, the Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services Department gave out Tdap, meningitis and HPV vaccines to nearly 40 students at no cost. The nearly 800 vaccines come from a surplus supply from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Andrea Waner with the health department told ABC 17 the surplus was an opportunity to provide them free of charge.

“We want to reduce the amount of barriers put between, you know, somebody who wants the vaccine and the vaccine itself, so the more reduction of those barriers that we can provide, the better it is for the community overall,” Waner said. “I think the burden is definitely lessened.”

Depending on the family, their income and insurance, that burden can be hundreds of dollars. Without insurance, the average cost for a Tdap vaccine is $65. The meningitis (meningococcal) shot is around $130, and the HPV vaccine for the entire series of three shots will cost roughly $500. Keep in mind, that’s for only one child.

Samantha Hall will move in to the University of Alabama later this week. She said the shot hurt, but it didn’t hurt her mother’s time or wallet.

Her mother, Stephanie Hall said, “I mean, trying to get into the doctor right before she were to leave for college and deal with trying to make sure they have the immunization on hand and what have you, for us it was much more of a convenient factor to be able to come here. Not having to pay for it is just an added bonus.”

It’s a bonus several families took full advantage of no matter their situation.

“It’s not about how much money you make, how much money you don’t make, or what your insurance is. We want to be able to vaccinate as many people as we can because it protects the community overall,” Waner said.

Any surplus vaccines from today will be used at Tdap clinics the health department will host in middle schools next week. From there, extra vaccines will be returned to the state’s inventory.

For more information on those vaccinations and required ages, visit the Immunization Action Coalition’s website.

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