Rush to get back-to-school shots

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 21, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 22 at 10:48 AM

DALLAS - School supplies, haircut, clothes - parents crowded malls on Saturday for back-to-school items.

But thousands failed to get the one thing that could send their child home from school - back-to-school shots.

Before doors opened, families waited in front of the Church of Incarnation in uptown Dallas to get into one of the only free vaccination clinics in the city this weekend.

Alexis Montiel, a student, was the first one in line.

"We were thinking of it's going to be free -- a lot of people are going to come, so we woke up at 8 a.m.," said Montiel.

Amy Fites and her family also came early to snag a spot.

"I'm just like everybody else at the last moment, trying to get there. I'm worried that... he won't be able to go to school," said Fites.

Last year, thousands of students missed the back to school immunization deadline.

A vaccine shortage and parent procrastination were to blame.

Lines wrapped around the Dallas County health building for days. The backup was so bad, families were given a waiver.

But this year, the state is not giving in -- no excuses.

Dallas county health officials say more than 5,000 kids do not have their shots. All will be turned away on Monday, and this year, there will be no extension.

It's a dilemma Fites wants to avoid.

"It will be a very crucial day for me, if I have to wait till Monday, knowing that I have to go to work, so lets hope everything works out," Fites said.

The event, sponsored by the church and the Dallas County Medical Alliance Community, attracted more than 100 kids.

One by one, they got their shots, including Montiel.

Fites was lucky - her son's shots are finally up to date, but she told us, she learned a lesson.

"I will not do this again -- I will not wait to the last minute," she said.

E-mail: mdiaz@wfaa.com

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