Ochsner Health answers questions about recent approval of children’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – On Friday, November 5, Ochsner Health hosted a Facebook Live where the focus will be on the approval of the children’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC and FDA both said yes to kids between the ages of 5 and 11 getting the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Ochsner Health is providing some statistics about the coronavirus in the United States and Louisiana:

  • 761,000 cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana
  • 14,500 COVID-19 deaths in Louisiana
  • COVID-19 vaccination sits at 47.68% in the state
  • COVID-19 vaccination in Baton Rouge is at 53%
  • 46 million COVID-19 cases in the United States
  • 58% COVID-19 vaccination rate in the United States

A panel of experts answered some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for people between the ages of 5-17:

  1. Who currently can get the vaccine?
  • Adults: 18 and above can get all three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and J&J.
  • Ages 5-17 can get the two dose series of the COVID-19 vaccine, the dosage is smaller, one-third of adult dosage

2. Should children who have gotten COVID-19 get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes, it gives an extra layer of protection.

3. What do studies show about the side effects of the COVID-19 for 5-17?

  • The profile is the same across the board, soreness on arm, fatigue, fever and muscle aches for everyone
  • There is no effect on puberty or fertility

4. Is it a good idea to treat for vaccine side effects ahead of time?

  • No, it is not needed ahead of the vaccine, but can be used after the vaccine is administered

5. What do you tell people who have concerns about myocarditis and pericarditis in connection with the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is the inflammation of the outer lining of the heart.
  • Rare cases have been seen with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after the second dose in young men between the ages of 16 and 29.
  • One symptom is chest pains which in many cases go away without serious effects.
  • Trials involving kids ages 5-11 have not shown these conditions

6. Is it safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines?

  • Yes, it is safe to give this vaccine with other vaccines.

There is some concern that children have fallen behind on their vaccination schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experts encourage parents to make sure their children are updated on their vaccine schedule.

7. What about masks for kids in schools?

The CDC makes recommendations based on data and they say that the safest approach remains multi-layered. That includes still wearing masks.

Where can children you get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Go to my.ochsner.org
  • Call 1-844-888-2772 call and schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment

Prior to the Facebook Live, Ochsner Heath released a statement about the approval of the children’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the CDC, FDA and LDH.

“Ochsner Heath continues to follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and distribution. Ochsner has, and continues to, encourage all individuals who meet the age criteria for eligibility to get vaccinated. To date, Ochsner Health has administered more than 570,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in Louisiana.

On Wednesday, November 3, the LDH approved the expanded use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 – 11, following FDA and CDC approval. The results of the Pfizer trial in the 5-to-11-year-old age group show the vaccine is safe and that it generates a “robust” antibody response in children given a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms each – a third of the dose for individuals 12 and above.

The increase in pediatric cases and pediatric hospitalizations during the fourth surge of COVID-19 underscored how vulnerable the children of Louisiana are to this highly contagious and deadly virus. We need to protect our children. Expanding the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to younger individuals ages 5 – 11 is a critical step forward.

Large-scale vaccination of our community will significantly help curb the spread of COVID-19, especially when combined with other recommendations from the CDC, which have included masking, social distancing and quarantining, when appropriate. These public health measures safeguard the safety and wellbeing of every child in Louisiana – at home, at school and at play.

As soon as Ochsner has the vaccines readily available, we plan to start opening appointments at our pediatric clinics. Once scheduling is live we will inform patients and community members that they can visit www.myochsner.org or call 1-844-888-2722 to schedule. Because we know families need flexibility, we are also planning after-work hours and some weekend availability for eligible school-age children to receive their shot. At all of our vaccination locations, children under the age of 18 must have parent or guardian consent before getting the vaccination.

We will be in close communication with the community about our vaccination plans for children ages 5 to 11 throughout this process.”

William “Billy” Lennarz, MD, FAAP, MMM, System Chair of Pediatrics, Ochsner Hospital for Children

We will livestream the Facebook Live in the video player above.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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