Free immunizations are currently available for uninsured children from birth to age 18 at the Garden Spot Fire Rescue in New Holland, the Bart Township Fire Company in Bart, and the Lancaster General Health Outpatient Center in Columbia.

Provided by ChildProtect, a program that provides free vaccines to children who are uninsured or enrolled in Medical Assistance, no appointment is necessary but parents must bring up-to-date immunization records. For more information contact Michelle Hargraves at (717) 544-3144.

For information on free- or low-cost immunizations for children with insurance that does not cover vaccines or has high deductibles, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s vaccine clinic at (717) 299-7597, SouthEast Lancaster Health Services at (717) 299-6371, or the Welsh Mountain Health Centers at (717) 354-4711.

ChildProtect began as an emergency response to a German measles outbreak in the Amish community in 1991. Recognizing the need to quickly vaccinate 5,000 Amish children, LG Health partnered with Amish bishops and local fire companies to provide free immunizations in remote areas of Lancaster County. To date, ChildProtect has provided 166,164 immunizations to 73,897 children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls vaccination one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century (based on the declines in morbidity for the nine vaccine-preventable diseases for which vaccination was universally recommended).

Diseases that used to be common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can now be prevented by vaccination. Thanks to a vaccine, one of the most terrible diseases in history – smallpox – no longer exists outside the laboratory. Over the years, vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

For more information on recommended vaccines for children and adults, please visit the LG Health Hub and the CDC website.

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