Department of Health and Human Services offers free vaccines

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services offered free vaccinations Saturday for people 11 to 26 years-old.

Public Information Officer Andrea Waner said the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had a surplus of vaccines left, so the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services decided to offer free vaccines for students headed back to school. The department offered free TDAP, meningitis and HPV vaccines Saturday.

Waner said the state requires kids going into eighth grade to get the TDAP vaccine and those going into post-secondary schools to get the meningitis vaccine.

"It's always a great idea to be vaccinated because it's your best protection against these vaccine-preventable diseases," Waner said. "It protects, not only yourself, but your family and those that are around you from getting these vaccine-preventable diseases."

Waner said she strongly recommends kids going back to school to get vaccinated.

"If you think about it, in an elementary school, a high school, it's kind of like a petri dish of bacteria," Waner said. "There are a number of things you can catch, so why not go ahead and take that extra step to get protected against those things that we know exist and we know are out there."

Waner said the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services also administers free flu vaccinations at all the participating schools in Boone County during flu season.

You can get vaccines at the clinic Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary; you can just walk in to the clinic at 1005 West Worley.

You can find a list of all the shots the department provides on its website, and if you are unsure what vaccines you or your child needs, you can call the clinic at 573-874-7356.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct information about vaccines.]