BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With all the focus on the COVID vaccine, it’s important to remember there are other vaccines out there, some of which are required for children to head back to school.

It’s been nearly a year and a half since some of these kids have been in a classroom full time, around other children, so these immunizations are more important than ever.

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As Makayla Johnson prepares to start sixth grade, her mother Remika Wright, wanted to make sure she was up-to-date on her vaccinations.

“Due to COVID, she’s 11 so she’s underage (for the COVID vaccine.) So I wanted to at least make sure she has the other vaccinations up to date,” Wright said.

They stopped by a free Back-to-School Immunization Clinic at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.

“Since COVID and everything, everyone has been shut down, and it’s hard to get appointments,” Wright said.

It’s a problem that many parents are facing.

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“We have known for years that the schools are unable to get a lot of the kids vaccinated, and our community service group decided that it was important to do our part to get as many children vaccinated as possible,” said Dr. Richard Katz, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

There are vaccines for diseases like polio, hepatitis, and meningitis to name a few, all of which are required in order to attend school here in Maryland.

“The vaccines are incredibly safe, they save lives, they have done a remarkable job in this country and in the world, at reducing disease,” Katz said.

It’s all to help students like Makayla head back into their classrooms safely.

Two other immunizations events were also held in Baltimore County Saturday as well.

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Sean Streicher