Texas Offering Free Vaccines and Health Services Near Mexican Border
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced in a Tweet that Operation Lone Star is returning for its 21st year to south Texas counties on July 22-26, 2019.
Operation Lone Star (OLS) is an annual emergency preparedness exercise for civilian and military personnel which was first staged in 1999.
OLS delivered approximately 43,000 health services to 9,346 people in 2018.
This exercise enables emergency responders to practice setting up and operating clinics similar to those that could be used in the event of a public health emergency.
Texas Operation Lone Star is a cooperative effort of Texas DSHS, Cameron County Public Health Department, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, the City of Laredo.
OLS benefits patients both now and in the future.
Operation Lone Star offers free health services including child immunizations, hearing and vision screenings, diabetes, and blood pressure screenings, and sports physicals.
In addition, the Rio Grande City site will provide preventive dental services for school-age children, and dental services and vision exams for prescription glasses for adults and children will be available at the Mission and San Juan locations.
People attending OLS who already have a prescription can get glasses at the Brownsville, Harlingen, and Laredo Texas locations.
OLS locations include:
- Brownsville: Porter Early College High School, 3500 International Blvd.
- Harlingen: Harlingen School of Health Professions, 1901 Rio Hondo Road
- Laredo: United South High School – Ninth Grade Campus, 3819 Aguanieve Drive
- Mission: Juarez-Lincoln High School, 7801 W. Mile Seven Road
- Rio Grande City: Ac2E Magnet Elementary, 1 S. Fort Ringgold
- San Juan: PSJA Early College High School, 805 W. Ridge Road
According to DSHS, all OLS clinics will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
The South Texas Region’s estimated total population in 2017 was more than 2.4 million, or nearly 9 percent of the state’s total population. An estimated 35 percent of the region’s population is concentrated in Hidalgo County, which contains the city of McAllen, Texas.
Recently, south Texas has been confronted with mumps and measles outbreaks.
On July 17, 2019, four measles cases were confirmed in the city of El Paso, Texas.
Additionally, mumps outbreaks have been confirmed in various south Texas cities, including near San Antonio and Houston, Texas, during 2019.
The recommended vaccinations for infants and children through 6 years for 2019 can be found here.
This schedule is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
For those who miss the 2019 Texas OLS event, the Vaccines For Children program offers vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
Additional financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.
For more information, contact your local health department or dial 2-1-1. This event can be followed on Twitter.
The Texas Department of State Health Services' job is to promote and protect the health of people, and the communities where they live, learn, work, worship, and play. We understand no single entity working by itself can improve the health of all across Texas. We must all work together to create a better system that includes prevention, intervention, and effective partnerships.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report vaccine side effects to your healthcare provider or the CDC.