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News Release

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to ensure your child has a safe start to the new school year.

As families prepare for the upcoming school year, it can be easy to overlook the most important back-to-school essential: immunizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 10,000 - 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Luckily, diseases like whooping cough, chicken pox and the flu can be prevented with vaccinations.

“The immunization schedule is designed to provide disease protection when children need it most,” said Janice Hixson, MD, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s Chief Medical Officer. “Talk with your child’s medical provider to see if you missed any routine vaccinations, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for some families to attend essential well-child visits.”

It is important for children ages six months and older to get a yearly flu vaccination in addition to any routine immunizations. Getting vaccinated reduces the high risk of developing serious illness, especially in children under five. 

“If your child hasn’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet, please do so as soon as possible,” Hixson said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is available for those six months and older, and it’s been proven to reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization.”

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Some children may have anxiety about getting vaccinated. You can calm them by being honest and explaining that they may feel a pinch, and it will go away quickly. Remember to remain upbeat, and use words like “pressure” or “poke” instead of “pain” or “shot.” Try distracting your child by singing a song or telling a story. Be sure to offer plenty of hugs after.

Sometimes children experience mild side-effects from immunizations, including pain at the injection site or a fever. Use a cool, damp cloth to reduce soreness and swelling, and offer your child liquids more often. If you see something that concerns you, call your medical provider.

“Mild reactions after a vaccination are normal, and often go away quickly,” Hixson said. “It’s important to remember that vaccines go through intense safety testing and monitoring.”

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic patients can schedule a well-child visit with the Harmon-y Pediatric Clinic at (405) 948-4900 ext. 633.

Don’t wait — give your child the best protection against disease before the upcoming school year. 

About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 20,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.

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