Due to low attendance the last few years and better access to health care for children, Deschutes County Health Services and Rotary Clubs of Central Oregon announced Tuesday they have decided to end the Shots for Tots program.
Since 1999, Shots for Tots has been a successful child immunization program for many years, resulting in thousands of children receiving vaccinations in Central Oregon.
Since the program’s start, Shots for Tots has served about 10,000 children in the region. Former Deschutes County Health Services Immunization Coordinator Mindy Stomner was one of the program’s founders.
“Back then, access to vaccines for children wasn’t as good as it is now, so Shots for Tots served an important need in the community” said current Deschutes County Health Services Immunization Coordinator Heather Kaisner. “The program has been a wonderful collaboration between Deschutes County Public Health, Rotary Clubs of Central Oregon, and local school districts. We couldn’t have accomplished as much without these partners”, Heather said.
In the height of the program, local Rotary clubs donated volunteer time and funds to support Shots for Tots, Deschutes County Public Health provided the nurses and vaccine to give immunizations, and local school districts provided vaccination space and helped promote the clinics.
Times have changed, and the number of children seeking immunizations at Shots for Tots clinics has dwindled over the last few years.
In the early 2000s, an average of 1,000 children attended clinics to receive vaccinations. Last year, only 87 children accessed Shots for Tots services.
Children who used to have limited resources and access to health care can now receive immunization services at several clinics, including all the Deschutes County School Based Health Centers.
Please contact your local health provider or Deschutes County Health Services to receive vaccination clinic locations, or look online at www.deschutes.org/immunizations.