Cheri M. Gioe, Merrill, Thomas A. | 4/19/2005 10:28:33 PM
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Public Health oversees a statewide immunization program, that requires children attending child-care programs to be immunized.
"Child-care programs are required to submit a list of enrolled children along with their current immunization records," explains LSU AgCenter child-care associate Cheri Gioe. "If a child-care program neglects to provide DHH with this list, the child-care program can be closed without notice."
Gioe stresses the immunization program is important because children are at risk of contracting some very dangerous diseases.
"This risk may be reduced or even prevented by having your child immunized," she says, adding, "Very young children are at the most risk, because they have not yet built up any immunity against disease."
The expert points out that most of the time vaccines work well, although there are times when slight reactions may occur.
"It is important to remember that the risk of the disease is much greater than the risk of the shot," Gioe says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following immunizations for young children at various ages:
At birth –HBV
2 months – DTaP, Polio, Hib, HBV and PCV-7
4 months – DTaP, Polio, Hib and PCV-7
6 months – DTaP, Polio, Hib, HBV and PCV-7
12-15 months – DTaP, MMR, Hib, Varicella and PCV-7
4 years – DTaP, Polio and MMR
It also is recommended that everyone get booster doses of Tetanus Diphtheria (Td) every 10 years for life.
"There are times when the immunization schedule may be adjusted," Gioe explains. "Pediatricians will often not administer an immunization when a child is sick.
"But providing your child-care provider with a physician’s note stating why your child was not immunized and when he or she will be receiving the next immunizations should satisfy your child-care provider and DHH."
The LSU AgCenter expert says there also are instances where parents choose not to have a child immunized because of a personal preference or for religious reasons.
"In these cases, your child-care provider must have a note on file stating the reason for non-compliance with DHH regulations," Gioe says, adding, "As a parent, you must also understand that should an outbreak of any of the childhood diseases occur, you might be asked to keep your child home for up to 21 days or until the outbreak has ceased."
For more information pertaining to childhood immunizations, visit www.shotsfortots.com. Shots for Tots is a network of public and private entities working cooperatively to update and educate both parents and child-care providers to ensure the highest level of immunizations possible, because Louisiana's most valuable assets are children.
The LSU AgCenter’s "Be Child Care Aware!" educational program is designed to educate parents and child-care providers about quality child care. It is funded, in part, through a contract with the Louisiana Department of Social Services’ Office of Family Support.