BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Before you know it, schools will be back in session and one family nurse practitioner said you should start thinking about back-to-school vaccinations.

“Back-to-school vaccinations or vaccinations, in general, are just truly important so that children can live healthier lives,” said Narkita Roscoe, Family Nurse Practitioner, CareSouth Medical & Dental.

Roscoe said back-to-school vaccine requirements in the state depend on your child’s age. 

“Children beginning at age 4 will be receiving diphtheria, tetanus, acellular, and pertussis (DTaP), inactivated polio, measles, rump, rubella, and varicella, which is the chickenpox vaccine,” said Roscoe.

For middle schoolers ages 11-12, Roscoe said an updated tetanus vaccine, the meningococcal vaccine and the Gardasil vaccine are required.

“But it’s also important that high schoolers starting at age 16 receive also a serogroup B meningitis booster,” said Roscoe.

However, the COVID-19 vaccine is not required.

“So the COVID vaccine is still an option, but it is highly recommended,” said Roscoe.

Since the pandemic, Roscoe noticed an increase in immunizations for children.

“Parents are wanting their children to be vaccinated because of the COVID scare and the side effects that COVID can have on the body, so parents are coming in although there are a few that are reluctant to vaccinate in general,” said Roscoe.

Meanwhile, parents should know there are exemptions for the required back-to-school vaccinations.

“The only exemption, as far as health is concerned, would be those that have any adverse reactions to any known ingredients in the vaccine,” said Roscoe.

However, it won’t cost you money to get your child vaccinated. Roscoe said health insurance or community health plans should cover the cost.

Vaccinations are available at the CareSouth Medical & Dental locations. You can also talk to your local provider. Health experts should have the list of vaccinations for your child on hand.