Published on August 15, 2022

Amid National Immunization Awareness Month, Essentia Health announces vaccination events

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and Essentia Health is kicking off this annual observance by announcing a series of vaccination clinics and blitzes across the Fargo-Moorhead area. Essentia recently became the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the North Dakota Department of Health, which will fund these vaccination events and other educational outreach on immunizations.

Since immunization rates have dropped in recent years, particularly among children and adolescents, the focus of these events is to help members of the communities we have the privilege to serve catch up on all their immunizations. A report released last month by the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund summarized the situation as “the largest sustained decline in childhood vaccinations in approximately 30 years.”

“As children head into a new school year, we want to ensure they stay healthy and have every opportunity to participate in school activities,” said Kelsey Nefzger, immunization program manager for Essentia’s West Market. “That’s why we are excited to launch these events as an easy and efficient way for children and adults to stay up to date on their vaccinations.”

The vaccination clinics will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday from Sept. 6 through Dec. 15 at the Essentia Health-West Fargo Clinic, located at 1401 13th Ave. E. in West Fargo. Both appointments and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made at 844-663-1068.

Essentia will also be hosting vaccine blitzes on various Saturdays in October and November from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Essentia Health-52nd Avenue Clinic (4110 51st Ave. S. in Fargo). Walk-ins are welcome. These blitzes are especially geared for children as each will have a different, fun theme. Dates and themes are as follows:

• Oct. 8: Sports theme
• Oct. 22: Halloween theme
• Nov. 5: Fall theme
• Nov. 12: Turkey theme

Patients must bring their insurance cards to both events.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 6 months and older. Everyone aged 6 months and older are also recommended to receive the yearly flu vaccine, which can be given at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone ages 6 months and older, I urge parents to reach out to their child’s pediatrician to discuss these vaccination opportunities,” said Nefzger. “Vaccinations are crucial in stopping the spread of preventable disease to others in classrooms, childcare centers and communities.”

Other child and adolescent vaccines include diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox (varicella), human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and B, influenzae type b (Hib), rotavirus and meningococcal and pneumococcal disease.

Adults may also need vaccines to protect against whooping cough, pneumonia and shingles. Other vaccines may be recommended based on age, health condition, job or lifestyle. Vaccination is especially important for individuals with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

If you are unsure which vaccines you need, your immunization record can be accessed by using the MyChart patient portal or by requesting them through your state health department.