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DALLAS Michelle Bodnarchuk has brought her kids in for back-to-school shots a monthy early.

'Because we want to beat the rush,' she said. 'We don't want to wait in line for hours.'

Every year, lines form around the Dallas County Health Department with children whose parents have waited until the last minute to get their children required back-to-school immunizations. In some cases, schools have declined students attendance until they receive the necessary vaccines.

BACK-TOSCHOOLIMMUNIZATIONS

This year, lines may be even worse because of the Affordable Care Act.

Under the ACA, childhood immunizations are now covered by most insurance plans at no cost to patients. But, a growing number of doctors aren't giving back-to-school shots because insurance companies don't reimburse them enough.

'The profit in it or the reimbursement is very difficult and challenging because this population only comes in at back to school time,' said Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson. 'So, they're not able to stockpile it.'

'A lot of times, pediatricians and medical providers are not stockpiling the vaccine because it's just not profitable,' he added.

Thompson urges parents to call their doctors in advance to make sure they have the required shots.

'So, you waited two weeks for an appointment,' he warned. 'You get there and you find out that they may have one or none and so now you have to start over from the beginning.'

Health departments in Dallas and Tarrant counties stock large quantities of childhood immunizations. They also accept insurance and Medicaid. Parkland is also offering 'Walk-in Wednesday' clinics, where no appointment is required.

Right now, before the rush, waiting rooms are virtually empty.

Email jstjames@wfaa.com

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