RMC offers vaccines for area children

Published 12:12 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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It is a year of new beginnings at Stabler Clinic, now Regional Medical Center. Along with a new name, March brought a new program that will benefit many patients in the upcoming year.

The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally-funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children that might not otherwise be vaccinated because of an inability to pay.

As part of the program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) purchases vaccines at a discounted cost and distributes them to grantees — state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies. These agencies then distribute to VFC providers and private physicians’ offices at no cost.

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“The program gives us the vaccines for free and then we can administer them,” Nurse Practitioner Melinda Gibson said. “It is for the children.”

In the past, due to the volume of patients seen by clinic pediatrician Dr. Duane Williams, most patients at the clinic received a check-up and were sent to the Butler County health department for vaccinations. While the health department is still administering these vaccines, Regional Medical Center is simply joining forces, allowing patients the convenience of receiving a yearly doctor’s visit that includes vaccinations.

“When I came on board, we realized there was someone else to help Dr. Williams,” Gibson said. “My nurse was familiar with the program too and that is when we chose to start offering the vaccines.”

According to the CDC, vaccinations benefit children and society as a whole. In fact, the CDC claims for children born between 1994 and 2016, there have been 381 million illnesses prevented, 855,000 deaths avoided, and nearly $1.65 trillion in total societal costs saved.

All in all, Regional Medical Center hopes to reach the community through the new program.

“We are trying to cut down on missed opportunities for children to receive their shots.” Gibson concluded. “VCF is something we have brought on board. Children can stay here for checkups and shots, so that hopefully no child will fall through the cracks.”