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Home | Tag Archives: City of El Paso Department of Public Health

Tag Archives: City of El Paso Department of Public Health

Immunizations Program extends hours of operation ahead of new school year

As the new school year quickly approaches, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health wants to make sure area school children who require vaccines receive their services in a timely manner.

In an effort to reduce long lines and extended wait times, all three of the City’s Immunization Health Clinics have begun operating concurrently with extended hours.

“In order to maintain operations we had previously used a staggered schedule,” said Crystal Bedore, Immunizations Program Manager. “We usually see our client numbers nearly triple in the month of August and so we want to make sure parents realize they can have their children vaccinated earlier so they are not adding to or experiencing the congestion.”

All three Immunization Clinics will begin operating Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will remain open during the lunch hour.

Clinic locations are: Central El Paso (5115 El Paso Drive), Henderson (721 South Mesa Street), Ysleta (110 Candelaria Road). Appointments can be made by calling 915-212-6555 or online.

Parents and legal guardians are required to bring a photo ID and the child’s immunization record. The administration fee for vaccines is $10.00 per child for one vaccine and $15.00 per child for two or more vaccines.

The Immunization Program accepts all Medicaid plans, CHIP (El Paso First only), credit and debit cards (Visa and MasterCard).

Children are usually required to receive vaccines upon entering daycare or elementary school, middle school, during high school, and before registering for college. For more information, click here.

HIV Program Bridges Gaps with Saturday Health Fair

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health HIV Prevention Community Mobilization Program invites the public to a health fair this Saturday morning.

“The struggles of being underinsured or not having insurance at all continue to threaten the lives of many in our community,” said HIV Education Prevention Specialist Jacob Ortega. “This event will provide free services and is open to anyone in our area who needs help in order to alleviate their worries about preventive health.”

The goal of the event is to reduce the disparities that exist for many El Pasoans who may not have access to health services.

The Department of Public Health will be providing free HIV and STD testing. International Business College will offer free blood glucose and blood pressure screenings.

Those who qualify for the Medicaid Waiver Program may receive immunizations, cervical cancer screenings, and colon cancer screenings as well as mammography services vouchers.

The Rawlings Dental Clinic will also enroll children for free dental services.

The fair will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 23,  at the Pat O’Rourke Recreation Center located at 901 North Virginia.

For more information on the programs and services provided by the Department of Public Health, call 2-1-1 or visit or

Department of Public Health Promotes Breastfeeding Month

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is pleased to announce that hospitals across the state are putting moms first an increase in the number of hospitals supporting breastfeeding in 2017.

The Texas Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which helps fund and manage these programs, is celebrating the growing efforts as part of National Breastfeeding Month. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding has proven to increase the number of women breastfeeding and the duration they breastfeed, as well as reduce racial and ethnic disparities. These designations have led to an increase in support of the 87% of Texas WIC moms who now initiate breastfeeding. That’s among the highest rate in the nation.

In El Paso, 89% of WIC moms initiated breastfeeding. The medical community is partnering with WIC and supporting moms’ efforts to give their babies what’s best. That’s right in line with the theme of National Breastfeeding Month, which is Strength through Support.

“El Paso’s University Medical Center received Baby Friendly USA designation in July 2015, and the WIC program staff has been providing direct services at UMC by assisting moms and babies with breastfeeding education and electric breast pumps before discharge,” said Bertha Amaya, WIC Director. “Our moms want to breastfeed, and these hospitals are doing a better job at helping them succeed.”

Breastfed babies have a lower risk of stomach problems, infections, and being hospitalized for pneumonia and meningitis. Breastfed babies also have lower risk of childhood leukemia, as well as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension later in life.

The WIC Program will be celebrating National Breastfeeding month with the following events:

  • Breastfeeding Awareness Month Proclamation – August 8 – Regular City Council Meeting
  • Big Latch On Event – August 5, 9 am-10:30 am – Bassett Center Mall
  • WIC Super Splash-a-thon at Grandview Spray Park – August 12, 9 am – 12 pm – 3100 Jefferson Avenue
  • Superpower Photo Booth Event in August at 12 WIC centers during normal hours of operation

For more information, please call 2-1-1 or visit or

Second Case of West Nile Confirmed this Season

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health has confirmed a second case of West Nile Virus in El Paso. The patient is a man in his early 50’s who lives in the city’s Eastside. He does not have any underlying medical conditions and is currently recovering at home.

The first case of West Nile Virus confirmed this season was in May involving a man in his mid-40’s who also resides in East El Paso. A total of six West Nile Virus cases were reported last season.

“With West Nile Virus, and now Zika presenting a threat to our community we need everyone to do their part including draining standing water around their homes,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist.

Department officials are urging residents to “Tip and Toss” items in their yards to prevent standing water. It takes less than a tablespoon of water to provide a breeding ground for moquitoes. Residents are also reminded to practice the “four Ds”:

  • DEET – Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions.
  • DRESS – When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Rather, spray permethrin-containing products only on clothing.
  • DUSK and DAWN – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
  • DRAIN – Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around and outside your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

You can also mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. To report standing water or mosquito breeding call 3-1-1.

In effort to increase awareness about the disease and ways the public can protect themselves, the Department has added a West Nile Virus session to the list of presentations offered by the Speakers Bureau.

Local civic and community organizations can schedule a presentation that will include background on the disease, prevention methods, as well as what people can look out for in regards to signs and symptoms of infection. Presentations can be scheduled by visiting and clicking on “Special Projects.”


The mission of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is to Provide Public Health related research, evaluation, education, prevention, intervention, and preparedness services. For more information on the programs and services we provide, please dial 2-1-1 or or

Department of Public Health celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month, Provids Free Vaccines

In celebration of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is offering free vaccines during the Northeast Regional Command Community Health Fair on Saturday August 20, 2016 at Cohen Stadium.

Free vaccines are being made available to eligible clients who qualify under the Texas Vaccines for Children (TVFC) and the Adult Safety Net (ASN) programs.

Immunizations will be available for children (0-18yrs) who meet one of the TVFC eligibility criteria:

  • Medicaid eligible (ALL Texas Medicaid plans accepted)
  • Uninsured: a child who has no health insurance coverage
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • Enrolled in CHIP (El Paso First)
  • Underinsured: a child with no insurance coverage for vaccinations or only partial coverage

Immunizations will be available to adult patients (19yr and older) who meet one of the following ASN eligibility criteria:

  • No Health Insurance
  • 19 yr. old referred to the Public Health Dept. to finish a vaccine series, initiated under the Texas Vaccines for Children Program (TVFC)

Clients who do not qualify under the TVFC or the ASN guidelines might still be eligible to receive free vaccine based on income (subject to vaccine availability).

“The Immunizations program wants to encourage our community members, of all ages, to get vaccinated. We all need vaccines based on our age, occupation or health condition. Each year thousands of children and adults get hospitalized due to complications related to vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza and pertussis.” said Alejandra Rodarte, Public Health Supervisor.

The purpose of National Immunization Awareness Month is to highlight the importance of immunizations, which, according to the CDC, is one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. For additional information on immunizations, please visit:

The mission of the Department of Public Health is to provide research and evaluation, prevention, intervention, and mobilization services to the people of El Paso so they can be healthy, productive, safe, and secure.

For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit or call 211.

El Paso Health Department warns of Turtles and Salmonella

With the Easter holiday and springtime weather approaching, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is warning residents to avoid becoming infected with Salmonella.

Just last year DPH staff investigated two cases of Salmonella Poona in small children, part of a multi-state cluster associated with red-eared slider turtles. There were more than 20 cases identified across the country.

“Over the years these small turtles have gained popularity in our region,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “We hope parents will re-consider the idea of giving these creatures as gifts to small children because we know there is a risk of infection.”

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that commonly affects the intestinal tract. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most individuals recover without treatment. In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness, in which the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites. In these cases, Salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Since 1975, it has been illegal in the United States to sell or distribute turtles with shells that measure less than 4 inches in length. This size was chosen because small children are more likely to treat smaller turtles as toys and put them in their mouths.

This ban prohibiting the sale of small turtles likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis and according to the Food and Drug Administration, has prevented an estimated 100,000 cases of salmonellosis annually in children. If you encounter someone illegally selling these turtles you may call 3-1-1 to file a report.

How do I reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from reptiles and amphibians?


  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching a reptile or amphibian, or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Keep reptiles and amphibians out of homes with children younger than 5 years old or people with weakened immune systems.
  • Habitats and their contents should be carefully cleaned outside of the home. Use disposable gloves when cleaning and do not dispose of water in sinks used for food preparation or for obtaining drinking water.
  • Wash any clothing the reptile or amphibian might have touched.
  • Use soap or a disinfectant to thoroughly clean any surfaces that have been in contact with reptiles or amphibians.


  • Don’t let children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch amphibians or reptiles, or anything in the area where they live and roam, including water from containers or aquariums.
  • Don’t keep reptiles and amphibians in child care centers, nursery schools, or other facilities with children younger than 5 years old.
  • Don’t touch your mouth after handling reptiles or amphibians and do not eat or drink around these animals.
  • Don’t let reptiles or amphibians roam freely throughout the house or in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, pantries, or outdoor patios.
  • Don’t bathe animals or clean their habitats in your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or bathtub. To prevent cross-contamination, animals should be bathed in a small plastic tub or bin that is dedicated for animal use only. If bathtubs must be used for these purposes, they should be thoroughly cleaned afterward. Use bleach to disinfect a sink, bathtub, or other place where reptile or amphibian habitats are cleaned.
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