Baton Rouge — By the scheduled end of the program on Saturday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health had vaccinated more than 11,846 people statewide through its three-day immunization initiative. Public health officials note that this approximate count may be even higher when final numbers from all of the clinics are reassessed later this week. 

“This vaccination program far exceeded our expectations,” said LDH Secretary David Hood. “Projections for this program were only about 4,000, so we are pleased that so many people took advantage of this preventive care opportunity.”  

State officials noted that August is usually the busiest month for immunizations because of people getting ready for the beginning of schools and universities statewide. Officials added that the number of children vaccinated during this three-day program is more than half the number during the entire month of August last year. 

“Our hope is that this program would not only help us get a large number of people, mostly children, vaccinated at one time, but that it would also help us make August an entire month of immunization awareness,” said Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch. 

Dr. Welch added that anyone who received an immunization reminder postcard or who is concerned that his or her children may not be up to date on their immunizations should contact a family physician or go to a local parish health unit to ensure the children have all of their needed vaccinations. 

Public health officials also noted that the lasting benefit of the volume of people coming into the 87 immunization clinics statewide is the exposure to LDH programs and messages designed to help people live healthier lives. Several clinics offered the opportunity to enroll in the state’s insurance program for kids, LaCHIP, and provided information on healthy babies, proper diet and safety messages tailored to young children. 

The three-day statewide effort relied on a number of public health staff and volunteers as well as private partners participating by opening their clinics during special hours. Officials monitoring the emergency response systems for the mass vaccination drill that provided the oversight for this program report that supply, staffing and communications functions were well-tested and that all regions stand ready to respond should a mass vaccination be needed.