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Port Arthur Health Department giving infants immunizations again: Parents should set up appointment first

The Port Arthur Health Department is once again scheduling appointments for newborn immunizations after a month-long pause.

Judith Smith, director of the PAHD, said the facility halted immunizations for the public during this time period because the nurses there were working at the COVID-19 testing site at the Jerry Ware Terminal.

And while the health department is not open to full service, local officials wanted to provide some services, Smith said.

The health department is offering vaccinations to newborns ages two, four and six months old by appointment only. Call the immunization nurse to make an appointment at 409-983-8815 or 409-983-8874.

Smith said the person bringing the baby and the baby will have their temperatures taken at the door, and it would be helpful if they arrive wearing masks. While the health department likely doesn’t have enough masks for all who show up, one will be provided as available.

But if the mom or other person bringing the newborn in has a temperature of 100 degrees, they will not be seen.

Social distancing is also required.

Smith said there are a number of people who visit private providers for their infants’ immunizations, though she does not know which or how many are open at this time. The group of clients that visit the health department may not have a private provider at this time, and she wants to be able to provide a service to this group.

The Jefferson County Health Department has a satellite office for immunizations at 7933 Viterbo Road in Beaumont near the Jack Brooks Regional Airport, but it is not currently offering immunizations, county health authority Dr. Cecil Walkes said. The reason is that the nurse there is assisting at the COVID-19 testing site. Walkes anticipates reopening the Viterbo Road location by the beginning of May.

COVID-19 and newborns

Smith said she has heard of a case where a newborn had contracted the coronavirus in another state but is not aware of any such cases in Port Arthur.

Smith is currently working remotely from out-of-town so she can be with her daughter, who just had a baby.

COVID-19 is a big concern. While her daughter was at the hospital, only one person was allowed in, her daughter’s husband.

“There was a lot of concern but we knew they had precautions in place,” Smith said.