LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - More than 33,000 students across Calcasieu Parish will head back to school Tuesday.
As students check in, you’ll want to avoid the risk of checking them out due to unplanned sickness.
From summer fun to the classroom - it’s not only an adjustment for kids schedules but a time for parents to make sure their children are healthy to go enjoy school.
“To me vaccines are extremely important," said local parent, Kelly Fink.
With the recent Measles and Hepatitis A outbreaks, Fink makes sure each of her kids receives the proper vaccines before heading back to school.
“It definitely concerns me, thankfully our kids have always been protected."
Under Louisiana law, immunizations are required for all students, however, some can opt-out.
Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh with the Louisiana Department of Health said some of the rules have changed within the last year.
“The big change is that the second dose of the meningitis vaccine. The second dose was always recommended but it was not actually checked for within the system but that will actually be checked for this year," said Cavanaugh.
As for her response on the ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A.
“The good news for our school kids is that although Hep A vaccines aren’t required for school entry, they are recommended now.”
Louisiana is one of 15 states that allow parents to request for vaccine exemptions.
According to the state Health Department immunization database, last school year, Cameron Parish saw roughly five percent of its kindergarten class exempted from vaccines, the highest percentage in the state.
Although that accounts for a rather small portion of students statewide, Cavanaugh encourages everyone to be educated when it comes to whats best for their child.
The Louisiana Department of Health is reminding parents that immunization records are available online — and at no cost — as students begin returning to school.
Records are available through LA.MyIR.net. Officials say residents can securely view, download and print official copies of immunization records on demand. The records are accepted by schools, employers, state agencies and other organizations that require proof of immunization.
Vaccination requirements for Louisiana students include:
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.
All 11- through 12-year-olds should get one shot of Tdap.
All 11- through 12-year-olds should get a 2-shot series of HPV vaccine.
A 3-shot series is needed for those with weakened immune systems and those who start the series at 15 years or older.
All 11- through 12-year-olds should get one shot of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY).
A booster shot is recommended at age 16.
Teens 16–18 years old may be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine.