The University of New Mexico Southwest Mesa Family Health Clinic is holding a free back-to-school shot clinic on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Kids will be able to get all the immunizations they need to start school, but not the COVID-19 vaccine.

It will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 301 Unser Blvd. NW in Albuquerque, just north of Central Avenue. All kids in attendance will receive a free backpack filled with school supplies such as pencils, paper, folders and markers.

The clinic will provide vaccinations for kids 2 months old to 18 years old, said Dr. Janet Ventura, a pediatrician with UNM Hospital and at the UNM Southwest Mesa Family Health Clinic.

Parents are encouraged to bring along their children’s vaccine records to make sure they receive the vaccines they need.

It’s been a difficult year for everyone having to stay at home, and some families may have skipped keeping their kids up to date on their vaccinations, Ventura says.

“You can definitely just show up, and we’ll get it done,” she says. The vaccines will be documented and entered into the New Mexico immunization record website.

Although the COVID-19 vaccine will not be administered on Saturday, Ventura said she encourages everyone 12 years and older to get the shot.

There’s no appointment needed for Saturday’s clinic, and the vaccinations are free, she said.

What does she tell parents who are wary of getting their children vaccinated? Ventura explains that all children need to get vaccinated so that they’ll be prepared to safely enter the classroom.

“Overall, vaccination helps with herd immunity,” she says. “The more kids that are vaccinated, the less likely we’ll have outbreaks. For example, we’ve seen little pockets of the measles here and there.”

Everyone attending the clinic will have to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

“We want to make sure everyone’s safe,” Ventura says.

With kids heading back into classrooms, she said, “if everybody’s vaccinated, it makes it safer for everybody to be together.”