There is certainly no need to remind the kids who relish their summer days off, but the beginning of the new school year is quickly approaching. As part of getting ready to go back to school, the Louisiana Department of Health reminds parents and guardians to make sure their students have received all vaccines required by state law.
“As a mother and a doctor, I know that vaccines are one of the most successful and cost-effective public health tools parents can use to help protect their children,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Department of Health. “I urge parents everywhere to take this relatively easy precaution to keep their children healthy and ready to learn.”
LDH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch added, “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 vaccines:
- 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 daycare 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 vaccines:
- 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 summer, so parents should take their children to get vaccinated soon while the wait time is shorter.”
More than just a law – Vaccines are safe and help keep us safe
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.
Is my child up to date? – Getting vaccination records
Not every child needs a vaccine, as some are already up-to-date. To find out if your child needs a vaccine or to get their shot record, contact their doctor.
Where can I get my child vaccinated?
Your child’s physician or clinic should provide immunizations as part of their regular well care visit. Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid) and most all private insurances cover immunizations for children at no cost to the parents. Children who have Medicaid, are uninsured, are American Indian or Alaskan native, or who have insurance that does not cover vaccines are also eligible to receive vaccines at parish health units. View LDH's interactive parish map to find a parish health unit in your area. Avoid the wait and schedule your appointment today!
Medicaid Expansion – Healthy Louisiana
In addition to getting vaccines, parents might be eligible for insurance coverage under Medicaid. With the recent expansion of Medicaid eligibility, adults between the ages of 19-64 and who meet the eligibility criteria below will be able to enroll.
- Aged 19 to 64 years old
- Has a household income less than 138% of the federal poverty level (see detailed chart online)
- Doesn't already qualify for Medicaid or Medicare
- Meets citizenship requirement
To enroll under expanded Medicaid, it is not necessary to have a dependent child in your household and there is no asset test. For more information or to apply online go to www.healthy.la.gov or call 1-888-342-6207.
If you would like in-person assistance to apply, a complete listing of Medicaid Application Centers is available online by selecting “Apply in Person” at www.healthy.la.gov.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.