Is your child up-to-date on his or her immunizations? Did you know children must have all of their shots before entering school next fall? During the week of April 21, National Infant Immunization Week, you can get your child all the needed immunizations and save a few dollars in the meantime because the shots will be provided free-of-charge.
National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to focus on the importance of immunizing infants by age one. In an effort to increase protection from vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, all parish health units will be making the shots available at NO CHARGE by waiving the normal $10 administrative fee. To make it even easier for parents, appointments are not necessary on Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27.
LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise said the National Infant Immunization Week activities are a part of the state’s strategy for having every child up to date on his or her immunizations by age one.
“One in three children do not get all of the necessary shots on time,” Cerise said. “For some reason, there is a drop off in immunizations when the child reaches two months of age and when they get to seven months old. Therefore, we are making the shots free during the week. We are not requiring appointments and we are keeping our doors open longer hours. We are doing everything we can think of to make it as easy as possible for parent to get their children fully immunized.”
Not all parish health units will have extended hours, so people are advised to call before going. Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Parents are advised to bring their child’s immunization record with them.
“Having children fully vaccinated is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health initiatives available to improve our state’s health outcomes,” said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. “I encourage all parents to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that their children are protected.”
National Infant Immunization Week is a joint effort between LDH and the Shots for Tots Coalition. The coalition is a network of public and private entities working cooperatively to update and educate parents and providers in order to ensure the highest level of immunizations possible. They are providing banners to health units and private providers to use to promote immunizations throughout the week.
For more information, contact your nearest parish health unit.