Mary Wagner can't be very popular with Sandy 2-year-olds.
When toddlers see her, there's a good bet they're about to get a shot in the leg.As chairwoman of the city's Healthy Sandy Prevention Team, Wagner has directed a community program that's administered almost 1,000 free immunizations to kids younger than 24 months.
Older kids, and even a few adults, haven't entirely escaped the needle. Hundreds have received their school booster shots, mixed in with an occasional tetanus injection.
The immunization program is part of Healthy Sandy - a consortium of city government, the Jordan School District, local businesses and Sandy religious organizations.
"The immunization response has been phenomenal," Wagner said.
Healthy Sandy was organized about four years ago by a group of city business and civic leaders with a team of volunteers. Their mission? Enhance the health, safety and wellness among folks living and working in Sandy.
"Our real objective was to keep people out of the hospital," said Wes Thompson, Alta View Hospital administrator.
A top priority was ensuring Sandy children were up to date on their shots. Utah has the lowest immunization rate in the country for 2-year-olds, Thompson said.
In response, Wagner and other volunteers organized 34 free clinics in Sandy-area churches the past year.
The churches, said Thompson, offer a more comfortable environment then a hospital or medical clinic.
Immunization materials were donated by Healthy Sandy, while a team of University of Utah nursing students were enlisted to administer the shots.
After receiving the immunizations, participants are asked to contribute back to Healthy Sandy by staffing a phone corps reminding parents whose babies were born at Alta View Hospital about coming immunizations.
Parents were contacted 11 months and 20 months after births to evaluate the babies' shot status and remind parents to have their children fully immunized before their second birthdays.
Healthy Sandy is also involved in a number of other health and prevention areas, including a bicycle-helmet and car seat-belt program, Thompson said.