Thousands of Texas children miss out on immunizations they need to stay healthy
Latinos remain the largest uninsured racial and ethnic group in the United States and many are children. Barriers such as language, illegal status and unemployment make it difficult for low-income Latino parents to access high-quality health care.
To help expand health outreach efforts, consulate of Mexico in Dallas partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) and the Caring for Children Foundation to help educate families on health resources and provide recommended immunizations for Latino children through the consulate’s Ventanilla de Salud program, mobile locations and Binational Health Week events in Dallas and Houston.
“The significant gap between health care and the Hispanic community still is a challenge for both the community itself and health care providers,” said Edgar Carmona, director of health initiatives of the consulate of Mexico in Dallas.
“This gap increases whenever access to health care is politicized, as it creates confusion on what services are ‘safe’ to access without inadvertently transgressing policies that could create difficulties for families. It is collaborations like this one that helps us take innovative approaches to reduce this gap by re-assuring families that access to important services, such as vaccines for their children, are not only vital, but okay to access.”
Through the collaboration, children received receive vaccines at no cost, including school required immunizations and flu shots. The Care Van® Program is the signature program for the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas.
…re-assuring families that access to important services such as vaccines for children are not only vital, but okay to access
“2017 was the year of collaboration and sets the tone for our renewed focus in identifying additional strategies to reach the uninsured/underserved populations,” said Edna Perez-Vega, Executive Director of the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas. “Notably, as part of a coordinated emergency response effort, the Caring for Children Foundation-Care Van Program teamed with the Houston Health Department to deploy nurses and medical professionals to assist displaced families following Hurricane Harvey.”
Through mobile clinics, more than 500 residents in the Southeast region received a tetanus shot or Tdap, a combination vaccine that protects against three bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis – at no cost. Free flu vaccines sponsored by BCBSTX were administered to nearly 350 children and adults in Greater Houston.
In addition to delivering vital vaccines, the Caring for Children Foundation-Care Van Program is the only statewide program of its kind that collaborates with county health departments, school districts and regional partners to provide dental exams, hearing and vision screenings and educational programs.
Visit www.carevan.org to learn more about the Care Van® Program and its outreach efforts.