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SJCH's Children's Mobile Immunization Program Receives $15,000 Grant From KERO-23, Azteca Bakersfield and the Scripps Howard Foundation


San Joaquin Community Hospital’s Children’s Mobile Immunization Program – the only program of its kind in Kern County – has received a $15,000 grant from the KERO-Ch. 23 (an ABC affiliate), Azteca Bakersfield and the Scripps Howard Foundation.

The funds will make it possible for the immunizations program to now offer free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations. HPV vaccines help protect girls and young women ages 9 to 26 against two types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases.

The goal of SJCH’s immunizations program, which is partnered with First 5 Kern, is to ensure all children – regardless of their economic status or if they have health insurance – are protected from preventable childhood illnesses.

Since its inception in 1996, the program has provided free vaccinations to 70,000 children throughout Kern County.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have received numerous grants for our Children’s Mobile Immunization Program – and with this generous donation, the HPV vaccination can now be added to the free immunizations we provide,” said Kira Wiggins, director of The Wellness Center at SJCH. “We thank you for helping us realize the goal of improved health care for the children in our community.”

SJCH’s Foundation President/Executive Director, Kevin Burton added his thanks as well.
“The SJCH Foundation is pleased to have such a great relationship with KERO-23, Azteca Bakersfield and the Scripps Howard Foundation,” Burton said. “The SJCH Foundation exists to help the hospital realize its vision through philanthropic support – and that financial support helps us provide innovative programs and services to our community. Like SJCH, KERO-23 ABC is focused on making a positive impact in our local community.”

Natalie Martinez, a Bakersfield mother who experienced a cervical cancer scare herself five years ago, fully supports the addition of the HPV vaccine to SJCH’s program and hopes Kern County families will take advantage of this new option.

“When I went through a mild case of HPV, I didn’t realize that also meant I was a carrier and I didn’t know there was a vaccine,” Martinez said. “But when I learned about the vaccine, I certainly wanted my daughters to get it, so we wouldn’t have to worry.”

KERO’s General Manager, Steve Weinstein said the awarding of the $15,000 grant to SJCH’s immunizations program is definitely a win-win.

“It’s our company’s mission to do well by doing good,” Weinstein said. “By far, this is our largest gift … this $15,000 grant will support the efforts to prevent cervical cancer cases in Kern County.”

About the program...
The Children’s Mobile Immunization Program, developed by SJCH and funded by First 5 Kern and Proposition 10, is making a significant impact on Kern County children. All immunizations through the Children’s Mobile Immunization Program are provided free of charge. Our staff includes licensed nurses who give the shots to children. These immunizations are highly recommended by the State of California Department of Health Services. No appointments necessary, but immunization cards are required.

When to get your child immunized …
It is very important that children receive their shots on time. Your child’s immunizations are required to be up-to-date prior to starting elementary school.

Your child needs shots at:

  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 12 months old
  • 15 months old
  • 18 months old
  • 4-6 years old
  • 11-12 years old

Who the program services … The mobile unit continues to take its services right to the families who need them the most. Please note that according to California state laws, this clinic provides free immunizations to children under the age of 18 who meet one of the following criteria:

  1. No health insurance
  2. Eligible for Medi-Cal and the Child Health and Disability Program
  3. American Indian or Native Alaskan

For more information on the San Joaquin Community Hospital Children’s Mobile Immunization Program, call (661) 869-6740. For a complete monthly listing of the FREE immunizations clinics (dates, times and locations), go to the SJCH website. Click on “Services,” then “Children’s Immunizations.”