The state Department of Health and Hospitals is reminding parents that back-to-school planning should include making sure children have up-to-date immunizations.

“Getting immunizations is a simple process with big rewards. These vaccines help keep children healthy, so they can spend more days in the classroom learning and out of the doctor’s office,” said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein.

Louisiana law requires children age four or older who are starting kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, day care or Head Start programs this year must have proof they have received a booster dose of Poliovirus vaccine (IPV), two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR), three doses of Hepatitis vaccine (HBV), two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine (Var) and a booster dose of Diphtheria Tetanus Acellular Pertussis vaccine (DtaP).

Children who are 11 or older and are starting the sixth grade this year must have proof they have received all of the age-appropriate immunizations listed above, and at this age, children also need proof of receiving the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine and the Tetanus Diphtheria Acellular Pertussis vaccine (Tdap), according to a press release from DHH.

Parents should contact their child’s doctor to have children vaccinated and receive copies of their immunization records. If parents cannot get these through the child’s doctor, they can obtain vaccinations and immunization records at a parish health unit or a Federally Qualified Health Center. If parents are not able to submit proof of updated immunizations, their children will need to be re-vaccinated to get an updated immunization record.