BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Many students are getting ready to head back to class and Louisiana health officials say parents need to make sure their children's immunization record is up-to-date.
"I want to remind parents of their responsibility, ensuring that their children receive the shots they need," said LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee. "Vaccination is a simple process with big rewards. These vaccines help keep children healthy, so they can spend more days in the classroom and out of the doctor's office."
Louisiana law requires certain vaccinations. The health department says children 4-years-old or older who are entering kindergarten, pre-kindergarten or Head Start programs must show proof of the following vaccinations:
• A booster dose of Polio virus vaccine (IPV)
• Two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR)
• Three doses of Hepatitis vaccine (HBV)
• Two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine (Var)
• A booster dose of Diphtheria Tetanus Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP)
Children who go to daycare must have their age-appropriate immunizations.
Students who are 11-years-old and older and are entering the sixth grade this year must have proof of the above vaccinations as well as:
• Meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine (MCV4)
• Tetanus Diphtheria Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap)
The Louisiana Department of Health joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians in strongly recommending parents protect their pre teens with the HPV, human papillomavirus vaccine.
"When we don't vaccinate, we leave the door open for the return of diseases such as measles and whooping cough, which continue to be a threat to babies, children, and adults in the United States," said LDH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch. "School vaccination laws have helped eliminate major vaccine-preventable diseases. So, avoid the rush and take the time now to schedule your children for their back-to-school vaccinations."
The state health department says public schools in Louisiana allow student exemptions from these requirements when vaccination is contraindicated for medical reasons or when the family has a religious/philosophical objection.