Why should I vaccinate my child?

Protection to play!

Babies are born with immune systems that have the ability to fight many germs, but they are not strong enough to fight some infections. Vaccines work to reinforce your child’s immune system to help prevent and protect against many serious – and even deadly – illnesses.

As our children grow, they are exposed to more germs in their environment. Germs are spread through the food children eat and the air they breathe.

Find more resources on protecting your little one through Shots for Tots – Louisiana’s Infant Immunization Initiative.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines use very small amounts of antigens to help your child’s immune system recognize diseases and learn to fight them. Antigens include any substance that causes the body’s immune system to respond and go to work fighting the virus.

Vaccines are safe and effective for children. By following your child’s immunization schedule and getting them vaccinated as recommended by pediatricians, you can help protect them from serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Which diseases do vaccines help prevent?

Today’s vaccines help protect children from these diseases:

Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

A disease caused by the virus, SARS-CoV-2, discovered in December 2019. It causes a respiratory illness similar to the common cold or flu. It is spread person to person through respiratory droplets in the air from coughing, sneezing or talking. Symptoms can include cough, fever, difficulty breathing or loss of taste or smell. In some cases, Covid-19 can cause severe illness, hospitalization or death. LEARN MORE



Long COVID is a wide range of new, returning or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks. LEARN MORE


A disease caused by bacteria that live in an infected person’s mouth or throat, spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can include a sore throat or fever, and it may cause difficulty breathing. LEARN MORE

Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)

A disease caused by bacteria spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include ear infections and serious throat swelling. It mostly affects children under five years old. LEARN MORE

Hepatitis A (Hep A)

A contagious liver disease found in bowel movements that can spread by personal contact or through contaminated food or water. LEARN MORE

Hepatitis B (Hep B)

A virus spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids or from mother to baby at birth. It can cause liver disease and yellow skin or eyes (jaundice). LEARN MORE

Influenza (Flu)

A respiratory virus spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, talking or from surfaces that have the virus on them. The flu affects each person differently and symptoms vary. LEARN MORE


A very contagious virus that can cause a rash all over the body, fever, runny nose and cough. It spreads through the air by coughing, sneezing and even breathing. LEARN MORE

Meningococcal Disease

(For infants and children with certain health conditions.) LEARN MORE


A contagious virus with no treatment. It spreads through the air and can cause fever, headache and inflammation of the salivary glands, leading to swelling of the cheeks and jaws. LEARN MORE

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

A highly contagious disease caused by bacteria spread through the air. It can cause violent coughing spells that can affect eating, drinking and breathing. LEARN MORE

Pneumococcal Disease (PCV13)

A disease caused by bacteria spread through the air or by direct contact with infected saliva or mucus. It’s very dangerous for children and can cause ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and meningitis. LEARN MORE


A very contagious disease that is spread through the air or through contact with the stool of an infected person. It can invade the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis. LEARN MORE

Rotavirus (RV)

A virus spread easily by hands, diapers or objects that have a small amount of infected stool on them. It can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and fever, which can lead to severe dehydration. LEARN MORE

Rubella (German Measles)

A virus spread through coughing and sneezing that causes swollen glands, a slight fever, rash and occasionally arthritis-like symptoms. LEARN MORE


A bacterial disease that enters through deep cuts and puncture wounds. It can cause headaches and spasms in the jaw muscles, leading to lockjaw. LEARN MORE

Varicella (Chickenpox) (VAR)

A virus that causes an itchy, blistery rash all over the body, along with fever and drowsiness. It spreads through the air or by contact with fluid from the rash. LEARN MORE

When do I vaccinate my child?

A schedule of recommended vaccines is provided from the CDC. The Louisiana Department of Health provides a summary of these recommendations.

Get your child on schedule!

Children should receive a majority of the recommended vaccines by age two. Additional vaccines are recommended before the start of school and then again as a preteen/teenager.

Has your child gotten off schedule? It’s not too late to get them back on track. Talk with your child’s doctor to determine the best approach to ensuring your child keeps up with his/her vaccinations.

2024 CDC Vaccination Schedules: These easy to read schedules, or parent-friendly schedules, are now available both in English and Spanish:


Louisiana 2023 Child/Adolescent Immunization Schedule and Daycare/School Entry Requirements

CDC Recommended Vaccines for Your Children

Determine your child’s vaccine needs through this short vaccine assessment tool:

Vaccines & School Attendance

For children to attend school, Louisiana state law requires that children receive specific vaccines according to their vaccine schedule. Learn more about these requirements and find additional vaccine resources below.