A. Extra shots will hopefully be at least one thing that the children that were evacuated from Hurricane Katrina won't have to deal with.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 'states affected by Hurricane Katrina had immunization requirements for school and daycare and it is likely that children enrolled prior to the disaster would be vaccinated appropriately. It is not necessary to repeat vaccinations for children displaced by the disaster, unless the provider has reason to believe the child was not in compliance with applicable state requirements.'
Children with or without shot records should be immunized according to the appropriate Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule or Adult Immunization Schedule.
Another piece of good news is that the state of Louisiana has a statewide immunization registry system, which is reportedly intact. Alabama and Mississippi also have immunization registry programs, so even if medical records were destroyed, hopefully the shot records for children in these states were preserved.
Although all of this means that most kids don't need any extra shots right now, the CDC does recommend that evacuees living in crowded conditions might need vaccines against:
- Influenza, once it becomes available in the next few months and if they are over six months old
- Varicella, if they have never had chickenpox and have never had the chickenpox shot before
- MMR, unless they received it as part of their routine immunizations
- Hepatitis A, if they are over age 2 years old and have never had it before
Texas, on the other hand, where many children evacuated from Hurricane Katrina will be going to school, requires all three. That may mean that children will eventually or should now get some shots to get up-to-date and to avoid getting sick with any of these vaccine preventable diseases, especially Hepatitis A, which they will be at big risk for if they are living in crowded conditions. For right now though, those immunization requirements in Texas have been 'temporarily waived for children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.'