Free immunizations for kids available first Saturday of each month at Providence Alaska Children's Hospital

July 1, 2024 Providence News Team

Whether it's back-to-school time or your child is due for their next vaccine, the free immunization clinic at Providence Alaska Children's Hospital has you covered 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Are your child’s vaccines up-to-date and required health forms filled out?

The new school year is the best time to make sure your child has all their recommended routine vaccines for their age, and state law requires children to have certain vaccines to enter school. That goes for little ones entering in-person daycare or preschool and students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Providence Alaska Children's Hospital provides free immunization clinics for children 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. The clinic is held in Suite D-338 (D Tower) at Providence Alaska Medical Center. 

No appointment is necessary; this is a free walk-in clinic.

Children are eligible for the free immunization program if they are younger than age 19 and one of the following:

  • Medicaid-eligible;
  • Uninsured or underinsured (vaccines not paid for by insurance); or
  • American Indian or Alaska Native.

If you or your child has a fever greater than 100 degrees, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, muscle pain, or diarrhea you should not come to the clinic. Please wait until symptoms are resolved to obtain immunizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization or even be deadly – especially in infants and young children.

States may have different requirements for vaccines for school-age children so be sure to check your local health department and discuss it with your pediatrician. The most common required vaccines include:

  • Hepatitis B (HepB)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTap or Tdap)
  • Poliovirus (IPV)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (VAR)

Vaccines boost immune systems

Vaccines not only help prevent serious illness in children, but they also boost your child’s immune system. They help your child’s immune system learn how to fight against many different infectious diseases so that if, or when, they are exposed to germs that cause an illness like rotavirus, influenza or chicken pox, they’re ready and able to fight them off.

Fast fact: The CDC estimates that the vaccination of children born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent 419 million illnesses and eight million hospitalizations.

Vaccines are safe

Vaccinations go through a rigorous process to ensure they are safe and effective. This is true even after a vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is a national reporting system for tracking side effects and safety related to any vaccine. Individuals and physicians who experience or observe any adverse effects are encouraged to report them so that trends and concerning side effects can be evaluated and used to halt use or spur additional research.

Vaccines are not linked to autism

In 1998, a study was published in The Lancet that claimed a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism in children. Reporters and celebrities quickly jumped on the story and were, understandably, outraged.

However, that study was critically flawed for many reasons, including that those researchers picked and chose from data that would support their claim. The Lancet eventually retracted the article in 2008. Still, the uproar continued. Some parents continue to be concerned that vaccines are linked to autism, despite overwhelming research that has found no connection between the two.

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About Providence Alaska Children's Hospital 
Located within Providence Alaska Medical Center, Providence Alaska Children's Hospital functions as a hospital within a hospital. The hospital is known for its outstanding Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Maternity Center. The 146-bed inpatient facility offers family-centered care in every area of pediatric medicine and provides pediatric subspecialty services in Anchorage and across the state of Alaska. For more information, visit Providence Alaska Children's Hospital.

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The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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