KCMO Health Department sees long lines for vaccinations despite school being in session already

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kids are required to have certain vaccinations to attend public schools, or parents must have a waiver.

In Kansas City, Missouri, procrastination means dozens of kids couldn't attend class on the first day of school.

For the first day of school, you need to be prepared. Most kids come with pencils, notebooks and a backpack, but there's one requirement that has some children waiting in line.

"Vaccines are extremely important," said Tiffany Wilkinson, the Division Manager for Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness at the Kansas City Health Department said.

Days after the school year started, employees at Kansas City's Health Department said they're overwhelmed with walk-ins. They've even told some parents to try again tomorrow.

"People may not be able to come in during the summer months," Wilkinson said. "What we do to plan for that is we actually have to hire additional staff. We bring on extra resources and try to be accessible to people."

Wilkinson said if you don't want to wait it's best to come early in the day.

"Early mornings are typically better for us," Wilkinson said. "First thing in the morning we open at eight o'clock. Sometimes that makes it a little more easy for people to get in. Around lunch time or the afternoon is when you can expect to see the biggest crowd."

That crowd could see a 2-hour or more wait.

Even though the line can be long, Wilkinson said what's more important is that kids are getting their shots.

"We're really happy that those individuals are here and taking care of their children and wanting to get them protected from infectious diseases, so we applaud them for coming in and getting ready for the school year, but just remember try to get vaccinated early," Wilkinson said.

She said although many parents might think back-to-school time is best -- getting in early could save a lot of time.

"Remember this for next year: We really want you to come in during the normal school year, or even when summer just begins. Come and get your shots if you don't want to wait in line," Wilkinson said.

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