Children can receive vaccines, backpacks at Macon health carnival Thursday

Getting shots is never much fun, but the Macon-Bibb County Health Department is using a carnival to encourage parents to have their children immunized before the start of school next week.

The Macon-Bibb County Health Department, 171 Emery Highway, will host the carnival from 2-7 p.m. Thursday to help get children ready for the beginning of school. Parents and children can pick up school supplies, and shots will be available on site.

“It’s kind of like a one-stop shop to get children ready to go back to school,” said Megan Chapman, health educator for the health department.

Those who are up-to-date on vaccinations or who get vaccinated at the event will receive a free backpack. Vendors will be giving away school supplies, and the carnival will include face-painting and balloon animals.

If children visit five vendors there, they receive a free snow cone and popcorn and also are entered in giveaways of two bicycles and a Kindle Fire,’s e-book reader.

In addition, the Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health will be providing on-site screenings for scoliosis, allergies, asthma and more.

Although the screenings will be free, the immunizations won’t be, Chapman said.

But “it’s the law that children have certain vaccines before they can enter school,” said Nancy White, administrator of the health department.

Chapman said it would be helpful if parents or guardians bring their child’s immunization record, but if they don’t, the health department will still be able to look up the records from a database.

Free backpacks and school supplies will be available only while supplies last.

The health department will be closed for all other medical purposes besides screenings and vaccinations during Thursday’s carnival.

For details on the immunization schedule for children and adults, visit

To contact writer Conner Wood, call 744-4489.