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Department of Health stresses importance of back-to-school immunizations

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – With many schools reopening, experts said this is a crucial time to get your child vaccinated.

The Louisiana Department of Public Health said as children return to school, they are entering an environment that can expose them to many vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases include mumps, hepatitis B, and polio.

They said social distancing can not only combat the spread of COVID-19 but other diseases as well.

“What I want people to do is kind of keep up the good fight. This is a temporary sacrifice that I want you to continue making. Wearing your masks, staying six feet apart from each other, staying home if you’re sick, washing your hands, making sure frequently touched surfaces are cleaned a lot. And just give me three or four months,” said Medical Director of the Bureau of Community Preparedness, Dr. Frank Welch.

He also said parents should have a backup plan in place for their children in case they contract the coronavirus at school. Even if parents are opting for virtual learning, he said they should take advantage of their schedule flexibility to get their child vaccinated.

Dr. Welch stressed the importance of getting the flu shot.

“The flu is not gonna take a break and say ‘Oh, you’re busy with coronavirus, just, you know, I’ll take a year off.’ And you know we do know that the flu is preventable, or at least significantly minimized by getting the flu shot,” he said.

Welch said this is especially necessary with flu symptoms being similar to COVID-19.

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