LA Dept. of Health: 'It's important that as many people that can be vaccinated, are vaccinated'

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While you're checking items off that long school supply list, doctors want to remind parents not to forget the vaccines, and make sure your kids are up to date on all necessary immunizations.

The Louisiana Department of Health said by law all children are required to be vaccinated before they can enter kindergarten.

"Vaccines are proven to be effective, they're safe. We want parents to protect their children but it's also important to protect the community," said Dr. Marilyn Reynaud with The Louisiana Department of Health.

With the school year just around the corner, Dr. Reynaud tells us exactly which vaccines are needed to keep the kids in school and out of the doctor's office.

Preschool and kindergarten age kids need a handful of shots, including a booster dose of Poliovirus, two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), three doses of Hepatitis (HBV), two doses of Varicella (chicken pox), and a booster dose of Diphtheria Tetanus Acellular Pertussis (DTaP).

Among the list of required immunizations is the Polio vaccine. According to the website for The Center for Disease Control, Polio was wiped out decades ago.

"Since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the United States. However, the disease has been brought into the country by travelers with polio. The last time this happened was in 1993," Dr. Reynaud said due to frequent vaccinations.

"Vaccines have been so effective at preventing some diseases that we just haven't seen in quite a long time. But it's important to know that if we don't continue to vaccinate, we're going to open a door for some of those diseases to come back and we don't want that to happen," said Dr. Reynaud.

The state department said parents with children over the age of 11 and entering the sixth grade must show proof they received all the other vaccines mentioned, plus two more, Meningococcal (meningitis) and Tetanus Diphtheria Acellular Pertussis (Tdap).

"It's important that as many people that can be vaccinated, are vaccinated because those vaccinations will help limit the duration of an outbreak and the severity of an outbreak," said Dr. Reynaud.

Dr. Reynaud said to think community immunity, by protecting yourself, you protect the environment.

Experts encouraged parents to check with your child's primary care physician to make sure shots are up to date.

Experts say children who are eligible to receive vaccinations at Parish Health Units are those that have Medicaid, those without insurance, American Indian/Alaskan native, or children who are insured but their insurance company does not cover specific vaccinations.

Parents can get copies of their child's immunization records here or by contacting the OPH Immunization Program.

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