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DHH Asks Parents to Ensure Children Are Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

No need to remind the kids, but the beginning of the new school year is quickly approaching. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) is reminding Louisiana parents and guardians to make sure their children have received all vaccinations required by state law.

"The important thing to know is that vaccinations are considered to be one of the most successful and cost-effective public health tools parents can use to help protect their children,” said DHH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch. “Vaccine-preventable diseases include measles, influenza, mumps, whooping cough and pneumonia."

Louisiana law requires children who are ages 4 or older and entering kindergarten, pre-kindergarten or Head Start programs have proof they have received the following vaccinations:

  • a booster dose of poliovirus vaccine (IPV);
  • two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR);
  • three doses of hepatitis vaccine (HBV);
  • two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine (Var) and
  • a booster dose of diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP).

Children in day care also need to be up-to-date with their age-appropriate immunizations.

Children who are 11 or older and are entering the sixth grade must have proof they received all the age-appropriate immunizations listed above, as well as the following vaccinations:

  • meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine and
  • tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap).

“School vaccination laws have helped eliminate major vaccine-preventable diseases," said Welch. “Doctors’ offices aren’t as busy now as they will be later in the year, so parents should take their children to get vaccinated soon while the wait time is shorter.”

Vaccines have proven safe and effective in preventing illness and death from many infectious diseases. Having kids vaccinated keeps them healthy and in school, protects other children and family members from getting sick, and allows children to lead longer, more productive lives.

To have your child vaccinated, contact their primary care doctor. Children who are uninsured, are American Indian or Alaskan native, or who have insurance that does not cover vaccinations are eligible to receive vaccinations at parish health units. View DHH's interactive parish map to find a parish health unit in your area. Parents of children who have insurance should contact their private provider for vaccination services.

Parents can obtain copies of their child's immunization record from their child's physician, a parish health unit or a Federally Qualified Health Center. If parents are not able to submit proof of updated immunizations, their children will need to be re-vaccinated to get an updated immunization record.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.