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Only 3 percent of children 5-11 in Louisiana have received COVID shots

They're not opposed to vaccines, they're just worried that this particular vaccine needs a little more testing,” said Dr. Mark Kline of Children's Hospital.

NEW ORLEANS — When it comes to COVID vaccines for children, southern states, especially Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi,  are far behind others.

The state also ranks near the bottom for vaccines in teens and adults, and has one of the nation's highest overall death rates. A leading children's doctor says with winter approaching, now is the time for a vaccine.

It was one month ago when we saw some parents enthusiastic about the COVID-19 vaccine approval for five to 11-year-olds. It was one month ago when they lined up to get their children protected, but that's over, especially in Louisiana.

In the U.S., nearly four million children five to 11 years of age, got the shot. That's 13 percent.

  • CHILDREN 5-11 IN U.S.
  • 29 MILLION
  • 4 MILLION VACCINATED
  • 13% IMMUNIZED

But in Louisiana, only three percent have COVID vaccine protection.

CHILDREN 5-11 IN LOUISIANA

3% IMMUNIZED

The state also falls behind the national percentage when it comes to adults and teens who are vaccinated.

70% U.S. ADULTS VACCINATED

60% U.S. TEENS VACCINATED

Meg: “Let's drill down. You're a pediatrician. What do parents say to you in the clinic about their fears of getting a vaccine?”

"They're not opposed to vaccines, they're just worried that this particular vaccine needs a little more testing,” said Dr. Mark Kline, Physician-in-Chief at Children's Hospital New Orleans and on the faculty of LSUHSC and Tulane Pediatrics.   

Dr. Klein specializes in infectious diseases and  even with his medical and science degrees and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, he has to convince some family members of the vaccine's safety. 

“No corners were cut. The vaccine went through the same development process that every other vaccine has, and so I’m hard pressed to name another vaccine that has been found to be as safe and effective in children.”

 Too often he hears this from parents of very sick children.

“’I just wish that I had had him vaccinated.’ We've heard it from some adolescents as well,” he said.

 Dr. Kline says not vaccinated, you're six times more likely to catch coronavirus, and 14 times as likely to go to the hospital and die. And you're more likely to give the virus a chance to replicate and mutate inside of you, creating strains like the new omicron.

“Vaccination is just absolutely key it's our ticket out of this pandemic,” he added. 

Early next year,Dr. Kline says the COVID vaccine could get approval for children younger than two-years-old.

RELATED: Omicron variant: Don’t wait to get a booster shot, doctors say

RELATED: Vaccine requirement for Louisiana schools drawing GOP anger

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