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State Program Helps Families Pay for Costly School Vaccines

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - It's a necessity to get your kids into school or daycare ... immunizations. But with tight budgets this school year, some parents need help from the state to pay medical bills.

With such strict requirements and pricey vaccines, some Iowa parents are eligible for the state's Vaccines for Children. It's a program that drastically cuts down the costs for immunizations for qualifying families.

"Registered for school, school supplies, getting new clothes," said Prairie View Elementary school parent Valerie Dawson.

Prairie View Elementary school parent Valerie Dawson has a laundry list of errands to run to get her boys ready for school. It's a list with a painful price tag.

"An important part of getting kids ready to go back to school is getting all the immunizations," said Linn County Health Department Vickie Smith.

Linn County Public Health Department's Vickie Smith says some vaccines can cost more than one hundred dollars.

"The HPV vaccine, I think, is like $150 a dose," said Smith.

Through the state health department, Linn County and a number of other providers, offer the Vaccine for Children Program.

Immunizations cost just $10 a child per visit.

"It doesn't matter if they need 5 vaccines when they come in it's still just the minimal charge and we can waive that fee if they're unable to pay," said Smith.

To qualify you must have Medicaid, title 19, or are under-insured or have no health insurance at all. A program Dawson doesn't need since she has health insurance, but she knows not all families are that fortunate.

"When the kids are in preschool you have to have three to four right away in July and that adds up as well," said Dawson.

There are vaccine exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

LINK IDPH: Vaccines for Children Providers By County

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