It's important that children receive vaccinations to protect them against many diseases that are especially dangerous to young people. Just before school starts is the busiest time for shot clinics, but there is a need all year long—when parents are preparing to enter their children into daycare, or preparing to have their children start school after moving to the area—to find clinics where children can receive their vaccinations even if the cost of seeing a private physician is prohibitive.
The Phoenix Fire Department sponsors such clinics through a program called "Baby Shots." All immunizations through Baby Shots are free, and all immunizations required for daycare, HeadStart, preschool, elementary, and high school are offered to people from 6 weeks of age through 18 years of age. The 2019 schedule includes dates of clinics and addresses.
Baby Shots will protect your child against 13 serious childhood diseases and preventable illnesses:
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Tetanus (Lockjaw)
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Haemophilus Influenza Type B
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Vaccination and immunization clinics are located throughout the Phoenix area. The Mesa Fire Department also regularly sponsors immunization clinics for people whose children are not covered by private health care policies for the shots. They also provide seasonal flu shots.
Tips About Free Immunization Clinics
The clinics are free, but there are eligibility requirements and the process goes smoothly if you know what to expect.
- People are served in the order in which they arrive. Because the immunizations at the clinics are free, there can be a fairly long wait time, especially in the month before school starts. Try to arrive early. It might take half an hour, an hour, or longer to get to see a nurse.
- From the time you are seen, it will take approximately 20 minutes to complete the process and get the shots.
- Bring water and reading material for yourself and the kids to help pass the time.
- Make sure you bring up to date immunization records for your child. The better your documentation, the less time it will take to get your child the shots that are needed. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact previous vaccinators (county health departments, physicians, schools, daycare, etc.) to obtain duplicate copies of prior records.
You can find the dates and locations of immunization clinics near you at The Arizona Partnership for Immunization website for more information. You can also contact Community Information & Referral for assistance with finding health care for both children and adults in Arizona.
Importance of Vaccinations
The serious diseases of yesteryear have been all but wiped out due to vaccines so we don't see these illnesses and may become complacent about immunizations for our children. We are protected from diseases like measles and polio now because of vaccines, but these diseases do still exist and can spread among the unvaccinated.
Recently in Washington State, there was a measles outbreak with over 65 cases reported as of March 2019. The Department of Health opened free shot clinics and launched an information campaign to curtail the spread of the illness. This would not have happened if everyone had received their recommended vaccination. The best protection against measles is the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses.
The Arizona Partnership for Immunization provides a video that explains how important immunization is.