What They’re Saying: Louisiana Pediatricians, Nurses, Researchers Want You to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine
Medical professionals from across the state are lining up in support of the three safe, effective, and widely available COVID vaccines, urging Louisiana residents to go Sleeves Up to protect themselves and their families from COVID- 19.
Last week, following FDA approval and CDC recommendations, the state made Louisians 12 to 15 years old eligible for the vaccine. To date, nearly 1.4 million people – one in three eligible Louisians – have been fully vaccinated. 5,725 newly eligible 12-15 year olds, excluding trial participants, have already begun the vaccination process.
In an open letter to the state on Thursday (May 20), state health official Dr. Joseph Kanter joins 12 pediatricians to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, especially as summer camps begin. Parents should look ahead to the upcoming school year in August, which may be more normal for their children when COVID-19 is under control and more children are vaccinated.
“While most children have been spared serious complications, many have become ill from COVID-19, and some have been hospitalized and died. COVID-19 has spread through families, causing fear, disruption and sacrifice. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Louisians, including 7 children. Vaccination of adults and children is necessary to prevent the continued spread of this virus in our communities and the emergence of variants that threaten to prolong this pandemic, ”the doctors wrote.
“Due to their social nature, teens have proven to be very effective spreaders of COVID-19. The availability of COVID vaccines in 12-15 year olds could make the next school year safer and more normal, but only if families and adolescents choose to get vaccinated, ”the 13 doctors continued. “Vaccination against COVID-19 is important for the health of all of our children.”
In a letter to the editor of The Advocate on Sunday (May 16), Tracey Moffat, the chief nurse at Ochsner Health, called for the COVID-19 to be one of the “most impactful decisions” Louisians can make. As the leader of Ochsner’s 8,000 nurses who worked tirelessly with other healthcare heroes to fight the COVID pandemic and save lives, Moffat pleaded with Louisians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Every dose of vaccine saves lives. We have seen young, fit people – even children – lose their battle, ”Moffat wrote. “Many more have to do with life-altering symptoms months after becoming infected. If you suspect that the health professionals who talk non-stop about the vaccine have an angle, you are right. We want to keep life. “
Researchers from Louisiana State University and Tulane University also wrote in the Advocate this week. They highlighted the ways Louisiana medical researchers banded together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, this spirit of collaboration enabled researchers worldwide to “unravel the mysteries of the virus,” wrote Dr. Ustusto Ochoa, director of LSU Health’s Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Dr. Prescott Deininger, director of Tulane’s Cancer Center.
“It is critical to understand that every Louisian can play an important role in defeating COVID-19,” the researchers wrote in The Advocate. “While millions have been vaccinated, many more have to roll up their sleeves. Vaccines are safe and effective weapons for defeating the virus. Everyone must do their part to strengthen herd immunity and contribute to our public health. This crisis has proven what can be achieved by working together. “
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of their largest study of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to date, which found that among health workers who were fully vaccinated their risk of getting sick with COVID-19 was reduced by 94 percent. This effectiveness study involved a network of 500,000 healthcare professionals. In Louisiana, health workers were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting in December 2020.
There are currently about 1,500 locations in Louisiana that offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To get an answer to your questions, find a healthcare provider or event near you, schedule your appointment, or have your questions answered by a medical professional, call the COVID vaccine hotline at 855-453- 0774. The hotline is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
For a person under the age of 18, consent from the parent / guardian is required to make the recording. For your convenience, the Louisiana Department of Health has developed a consent form which you can find here on its website. The CDC’s recent guidelines state that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for people between the ages of 12 and 15. In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine has shown 100 percent effectiveness in children as young as 12 years old with minimal side effects.
The FDA and CDC reviews concluded that people 12 and older will have no side effects other than those who have already been vaccinated. These side effects are mild and include moderate pain or swelling in the arm where the injection was given, fever, chills, fatigue, and / or headache. These are normal side effects and usually disappear within a few days.