The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says Louisiana’s infant vaccination rates have declined slightly for each of the past three years.
Before vaccines were available, many children died from diseases, such as whooping cough, measles and polio – diseases that vaccines now prevent. LDH says those same germs exist today, but because babies are protected by vaccines, we don’t see those diseases nearly as often.
All young children have a high risk of getting sick from infections because their bodies do not yet have protection from vaccines or memory from fighting previous infections. Vaccines should not be delayed for school entry.
National Infant Immunization Week is the perfect opportunity to remind new parents, families and communities of the importance of “on time” vaccination following the Louisiana Immunization Schedule.
An important benchmark for very young children is the "7-series," which are the seven vaccines that infants need by the time they reach their second birthday.
OTHER RECOMMENDED VACCINES
Children with an altered immune system, due to disease or medications, should see their pediatrician before getting live virus vaccines. For more detailed information on each vaccine, call the National Immunization Hotline at 800-232-2522.
According to LDH, parents and pediatricians in Louisiana are protecting children when they go to school, shown by the high kindergarten vaccination rates in the state. However, the lag with the infant vaccine series shows those vaccinations aren’t happening “on-time.”
VACCINE RATES (Source: LDH)
LDH created a map of parish infant immunization rates.
Unfortunately, there are also differences in vaccination rates by race, ethnicity, poverty and insurance status for very young children. To help bridge this gap, Louisiana participates in the federally funded, Vaccines For Children (VFC) Program.
VFC PROGRAM QUALIFICATIONS
Last year, Louisiana children received over 1.1 million vaccines through the VFC Program valued at more than $74 million. All Parish Health Units, and over 600 pediatricians, family practice physicians and healthcare providers participate in the Louisiana Vaccines for Children program.
Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.