To help parents prepare their children for school and daycare this fall, the Louisiana Department of Health --- Office of Public Health, through its Shots for Tots program, is holding its second annual no-cost immunization effort throughout the state. This continues the mission of the Shots for Tots program, to have every child up-to-date on his or her immunizations by age one.
This concentrated effort is set to begin Thursday, Aug. 5 and will continue through Saturday, Aug. 7, in parish health units across the state, as well as in partner clinics in some areas of the state. While children are the primary focus of the program, older children and adults also may get any necessary immunizations such as tetanus shots or other important immunizations.
According to Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH secretary, the program has the added benefit of helping state and local health officials test each region’s ability to mass vaccinate large numbers of people.
“Our goal is twofold: make vaccinations readily available for families as they prepare for the new school year and, to test our capability to conduct a large-scale vaccination program should there ever be a disease outbreak where the public must be protected,” Cerise said.
Cerise added that the funding for this initiative is made possible by a grant from the CDC to increase the level of biopreparedness and emergency response in Louisiana.
During the three days of the program, parents may bring children to parish health units and clinics across the state to get their immunizations without an appointment (unless otherwise noted below). Clinic hours at parish health units are as follows: Thursday, August 5, 12 p.m. – 8p.m., Friday, Aug. 6, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 1p.m. Parents should also bring their children’s shot records.
For the past three years, LDH has worked to get every child entered into the Links system that allows private physicians, hospitals and parish health units to track the immunization status of children from birth. This new system helps ensure that all children are properly vaccinated, and in the event of a public health emergency, allows health officials to easily know who has been immunized against a specific disease.
A list of locations for the clinics in each region of the state is provided on the next page. For more information, contact your nearest parish health unit, or go to http://www.oph.dhh.state.la.us/ophregions/index.html