ChildProtect, a free immunization outreach program, was established in 1991 as an emergency response to a German measles outbreak in the Amish community. LG Health partnered with Amish bishops and local fire companies to quickly vaccinate 5,000 Amish children in remote areas of the county.

Nearly 30 years later, the program provides free immunizations to children from birth to age 18 at fire halls and health centers throughout the county. To date, ChildProtect has provided over 167,000 immunizations to nearly 75,000 children from low-income or uninsured families, with a particular focus on the Amish.

The clinic sees about 50 children per month, with highest volumes in August before school starts. In August 2017, when the PA regulations changed to require all students complete vaccinations within five days of the beginning of the school year, the clinic saw 160 children. In August 2018, the clinic treated 128 children. Most recently, in August 2019, the clinic provided 494 vaccines to 201 children. 

As the clinics reach more families and children, there are more opportunities to connect participants with primary-care doctors if they don’t have one already. Additionally, children who participate in ChildProtect are automatically enrolled in the health-records system at LG Health, meaning their health and immunization records are maintained electronically, making it easier to know which shots they may be scheduled to receive.

The next free walk in ChildProtect clinic is scheduled:

Monday, Sept. 16
10 am – 6 pm
Columbia Health Center
306 N. Seventh St.
Columbia, PA 17512

For more information contact Natalie Oster, Health Promotion Specialist, at 717-544-3807.

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