This document provides information regarding proper timing for vaccinations. It is published by the Louisiana Department of Health and is reviewed and updated annually. To download, click here.
Vaccine Finder: If you need help finding somewhere to get a vaccine, you can use the CDC’s “Vaccine Finder” tool. Just enter your zip code and you’ll get a list of which locations are closest to you.
Since 2016, Louisiana law has required that students who are 16 years of age have a second dose of Meningoccocal Meningitis vaccine. To view a complete copy of the revised statute in Louisiana law, click here.
Vaccines are more affordable for your child before they reach the age of 19.
- The Vaccines for Children program covers the uninsured and underinsured through 18 years of age. Beginning at age 19, they are no longer eligible for this program.
- It’s important to encourage your children to get vaccinated while they are still on your health insurance plan. Once they are off, it could be more expensive for them to get vaccinated, making it less likely that they will do it.
Curious about vaccinations across the US? The AAP has created an interactive vaccination map that allows parents, providers, and other interested groups to learn more about vaccination trends in each state. Click here to explore this helpful resource!
Evaluating Online Resources:
- Who manages this information? The person or group that has published health information online should be identified on the website.
- Who is paying to promote the information and what is their motivation? You should be able to find this in the “About Us” section.
- What is the original source of the online information? If the information was originally published in another source such as a research journal or a book, it should be identified so you can find the original source.
- How is information reviewed before it gets posted? Most health information publications have someone with medical or research credentials (e.g., someone who has earned an MD, DO, or PhD) review the information before it gets posted, to make sure it is correct. This information should be noted on the website.
- How current is the information? Online health information sources should display a date when the information was posted or last reviewed.
- If they are asking for personal information, how will they use that information and how will they protect your privacy? This is very important. Do not share personal information until you understand the policies under which it will be used and you are comfortable with any risk involved in sharing your information online.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Why are vaccinations important?
Vaccinations protect your child against serious diseases by stimulating the immune system to create antibodies against certain bacteria or viruses.
• What diseases do vaccines protect against?
Immunizing your baby with vaccines protects against serious diseases like measles, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, influenza, and more.
• I don’t know anybody who has had these diseases. Why does my baby need these vaccines?
While a few of these diseases have virtually disappeared because of vaccination, outbreaks of measles and whooping cough still occur in the U.S. Even if some diseases do completely disappear in the U.S., they are common in other parts of the world and are just a plane ride away. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected. Vaccinating your child will keep him or her safe.
• Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are among the safest medical products available, and scientists are working to make sure they are made even safer. Every vaccine undergoes extensive testing before being licensed, and vaccine safety continues to be monitored as long as a vaccine is in use.
Most side effects from vaccination are minor, such as soreness where the injection was given or a low-grade fever. These side effects do not last long and are treatable.
Serious reactions are very rare. The tiny risk of a serious reaction from a vaccination has to be weighed against the very real risk of getting a dangerous vaccine-preventable disease or suffering complications from it.
• What if I can’t afford to get my child vaccinated?
Your child’s health depends on timely vaccinations. Vaccinations are free or low cost for children when families can’t afford them through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Call your healthcare provider or local/state health department to find out where to go for affordable vaccinations. You can find a contact for your state’s VFC program on your state’s website. A listing of state immunization program websites is available at www.vaccineinformation.org/state-immunization-programs/
• Why is it important that all children get vaccinated?
Unvaccinated children are capable of spreading the disease to other children, even those who have been vaccinated since no vaccine is 100% protective.
In the U.S., vaccinations have decreased most vaccine-preventable childhood diseases by more than 95 percent (see www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4037.pdf for examples). Vaccines have minimized or eliminated outbreaks of certain diseases that were once lethal to large numbers of people, including measles and polio in the U.S. and smallpox worldwide. But because the bacteria and viruses that cause diseases still exist, the public health gains achieved through vaccines can only be maintained by ensuring that vaccination rates remain high enough to prevent outbreaks.
Vaccines are effective not only because they protect individuals who have been vaccinated but also because they confer a broader protection for communities by establishing “community immunity.” When a sufficiently high proportion of a population is vaccinated against infectious diseases, the entire population can obtain protection.
Community immunity is critical for protecting the health of many groups of people who are especially vulnerable to communicable diseases: those who cannot be vaccinated, either because they are too young or because a medical condition makes vaccination too risky.
• I thought vaccines were just for babies, do adults really need to get vaccinated?
Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally vaccinated. Adults need vaccines because vaccine immunity (protection) may have diminished over time and a person will need a booster shot to enhance protection. For some diseases like whooping cough, adults who are vaccinated prevent the spread of disease and in turn protect children. There are also vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine, that protect against diseases/conditions that develop in adults.
• Where can adults get vaccinated?
Check with your clinic to see if they administer vaccines. Additionally, your local health department or local hospital may administer influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, and Tdap vaccines. Many pharmacies offer these and other immunizations. Clinics may also be available in shopping malls, grocery stores, senior centers, and other community settings.
• I’m an adult, how do I pay for vaccines?
Out-of-pocket immunization costs may vary depending on your insurance coverage. Check with your doctor or clinic and your health insurance plan to determine your costs. For Medicare beneficiaries, both influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations are paid for by Medicare Part B if your healthcare provider accepts the Medicare-approved payment. Shingles vaccine is covered under Medicare Part D.
• Do vaccines have side effects?
Vaccines are among the safest medicines available. Some common side effects are a sore arm or fever. There is a very small risk that a serious problems could occur after getting a vaccine. However, the potential risks from the diseases vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks associated with the vaccines themselves.
• I’m traveling abroad, what vaccinations do I need?
Contact your doctor or your local health department as early as possible to find out which immunizations you may need. Vaccines against certain diseases, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, and typhoid fever, are recommended for different countries. The time required to receive all immunizations will depend on whether you need one-shot or a series of shots.