Ochsner health officials discuss why COVID-19 vaccine is crucial for people with special needs and caregivers

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- Ochsner Health officials hosted a Facebook Live Q&A for those who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in regards to people with special needs and caregivers.

Dr. Maurice Sholas, Ochsner pediatrics, says people with disabilities have been impacted by the pandemic physically and mentally.

“People with disabilities are just some of the most isolated person in our society. Because they can’t get out in some cases or don’t have access to friends and culture,” Sholas said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have underlying health conditions which makes them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Janae Montgomery, a special needs caregiver and educator says it was important for her to get vaccinated because of how vulnerable her students are.

“People with special needs immune system usually have low immune systems,” Montgomery said. “Our kids don’t mask. We only have one kid that wears a mask others can’t have anything on their faces. So I was like I need to get vaccinated because we are super close, like I am in a self contained classroom.” 

Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infectious Disease for Ochsner says people with special needs might be hesitate to get vaccinated due to limitations from their disabilities. She says resources are available for those who might not have access to schedule a vaccine or even access to get to the appointment.

According to Ocshner officials, it’s crucial for special needs students to get the covid-19 vaccine. In some situations these group of students have lost the 101 education they require.

“It’s very difficult to do some of that assistance remotely,” Sholas said. “I am very concerned of our population with disabilities because of social isolation and they don’t have much access to fundamental things they need to be viable.”

According to Baumgarten, people with specials needs do not need to worry about an allergic reaction from the shot. The most common side effects people can expect is arm pain and a mild fever.

Information on vaccine available in Louisiana is available here.

The full Facebook Live event is available below:

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