By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
As Killeen-area students scramble to get the shots they need in order to stay in school, some are getting help in an unexpected place the Copperas Cove school district shot clinic.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District has operated a shot clinic since about 1999, providing free immunizations for Cove students, and others as well.
The shot clinic is a joint effort between the school district and the Texas Department of State Health Services. The state provides the inoculations; the school district provides the refrigerator to keep them in, and Copperas Cove High School nurses give the shots.
It may be a godsend for a whole lot of people, frankly, said Martin Brubaker, assistant superintendent for human resources.
Copperas Cove High School nurse Donna Evans said her office gave shots to 14 Killeen students Friday, eight Monday and is expecting more this week. CCISD nurses used to travel between a few Cove schools holding shot clinics, but today the CCISD shot clinic is at the high school only.
With the shot clinic here, weve been able to give a person a choice of where to go to get it immediately no cost, no hassle, Evans said.
Evans and CCHS nurse Mary Gaines said they enjoy the flexibility they have to be able to serve any students who need shots, whether from Copperas Cove or a Killeen school. The nurses said they worry as they see the budget belt tighten around state agencies. They just hope they can continue serving all students.
Were hoping to find other ways to not have to limit to just Copperas Cove, Evans said.
According to numbers from the health services department, Brubaker said, the CCISD shot clinic more than doubled the number of shots provided by any other school district in Region Seven.
Last year, the school district provided 1,480 people with shots. About 278 of those students were from Killeen-area schools.
So far, weve been able to manage, Brubaker said. It makes for an atmosphere of cooperation thats good for school systems.
The shot clinics hours are from 8 to 10 a.m. weekdays, but Gaines said she and Evans are flexible about that as well.
We want to get that student in school as soon as possible, Gaines said.
CCISD superintendent Dr. Glenn Acker said the districts shot clinic is a major reason the school district has not had the immunization scramble other school districts dealt with this year.
Evans said there hasnt been a shots rush because CCISD has already been operating under a no shots = no school policy.
There may be some people who would argue that a school district has no business running a shot clinic, Brubaker said.
They may be right, but being right sometimes is not enough. The practicality is its far better to have a child in school than not in school, Brubaker said. You cannot walk away from these responsibilities because they are not what you would think of as primarily a schools district responsibility.
The school district also has a financial stake in student immunization, because the school district gets state funding per student. More students in school mean more money.
The return is so huge, you couldnt not do it, Brubaker said.
Contact Wendy Gragg at firstname.lastname@example.org