Are you or anyone in your family, business or organization planning to travel out of the country in the New Year? Whether you’re going on a vacation, business or mission trip, a passport is required for all travel outside the United States - and you may need specific vaccinations to protect your health in some locations. You may already be aware that you can obtain certified copies of birth records through the Department of Community Health and the Environment, but soon you’ll also be able to apply for a passport and obtain travel vaccinations at the facility.
Recently, the department applied to become a Passport Acceptance Facility with the U.S. Department of State, which will present St. Charles County’s growing population with a convenient, one-stop location to complete the passport application process, take the accompanying photo and send it to the State Department. After completing the approval process, the finished passport will typically be delivered to your home within 4-6 weeks. This passport application program will be introduced in 2016.
The first step in applying for a passport is to present a copy of your birth certificate. The Vital Records program at the health department can quickly provide that for you. For just $15, immediate family members can obtain copies of birth certificates for all persons born in Missouri since 1920. In addition to completing a short application, the applicant must show photo identification to obtain the certificate for themselves or loved ones. Please visit the Vital Records website for more information.
In addition to a passport, international travel may require specific vaccinations that prevent illness. The department’s Immunization Clinic already offers a wide range of vaccinations at little to no cost for children and adults, including back-to-school immunizations, flu shots, shingles vaccinations and more. As an extension of the passport application program, the clinic plans to offer vaccinations that are not easily obtained through area doctor’s offices or other providers. A complete list of vaccinations currently available and their costs, as well as a link to vaccinations suggested for your travel destination, can be found on the Immunization Clinic website.
Residents like you recommended the addition of this passport service and travel vaccinations to us, and we welcome these suggestions. To help suggest other services that we may introduce, and to provide your opinions on the availability of medical resources or behaviors in our county, I would encourage you to complete the department’s Community Health Assessment Survey before the end of 2015. The department issues this assessment to county residents and business leaders every few years as a way to evaluate the health needs of our community. Your input and continued healthy behavior will help to keep St. Charles at the top of the rankings for Missouri’s healthiest counties — a distinction we are proud to have earned for the last six years!