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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now available to Louisiana residents aged 12+

“I wanted to participate in this trial because I can't wait for everything to be back to normal, so I can sit at lunch with my friends again."

NEW ORLEANS — Children 12 and older in Louisiana can start getting their COVID-19 vaccines Thursday.  The CDC voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents.

And late Wednesday the Louisiana Department of Health called the safety of this vaccine in teens "rock solid" and added that vaccinating children is the way back to a normal summer and fall school year.

“I wanted to participate in this trial because I can't wait for everything to be back to normal, so I can sit at lunch with my friends again, so I can just chill with them,” said Delilah, 12-years-old.

Delilah is one of the brave children who joined the testing of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Ochsner months ago. Now with rollout near, her friends will be able to get one very soon.

“All the pediatricians on our team really view this as a major step forward in combating the pandemic,” said  Dr. William Lennarz, System Chair of Pediatrics at Ochsner Health.

Ochsner said its vaccine sites will be ready to give COVID shots to anyone 12 and older an hour after the State Health Department approves the guidelines. They said the vaccine is shown to be safe and 100 percent effective in the young, who can get very sick from catching the coronavirus.

“In fact here at Ochsner Hospital for Children, we continue to care for dozens of children who have had more serious effects including the multi-system inflammatory syndrome,” said Dr. Lennarz.

And, vaccinating the young is also about preventing community spread.        

“Vaccination is still the best way to prevent these strains from circulating and from changing. So we want to be sure we get vaccinated as soon as we possibly can, and that's an important message,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Ochsner Health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses the vaccine, writing, "The covid-19 vaccine is our best hope for ending the current pandemic."  Side effects are similar to those in adults: fever, chills, and headaches, especially after the second dose, as their very strong immune systems make those defensive, protective cells. There can also be an allergic reaction, although rare. Shots will not be given in pediatricians' offices. Both Ochsner and LSU Health said you can make an appointment online. Just remember children 12 through 17- year-olds need parental consent. In some cases, parental consent can be filled out online, but for some places, a parent may need to be there with the proper documentation.

Here is all the information and links for scheduling a vaccine for your child at LSU Health, Ochsner, LCMC hospitals and the New Orleans Convention Center.

LSU HEALTH:

As we have the Pfizer vaccine, we are taking appointments now at the LSU Health New Orleans COVID Vaccination Clinic at 2020 Gravier Street, first floor.

We typically have Walk-In Wednesdays where no appointments are necessary.

Parents must accompany their child/children with some form of identification.

Appointments can be made here.

LCMC HEALTH:

As vaccines become available to any 12 years of age and above, LCMC Health is urging people to log on to lcmchealth.org/vaccine or call 504-290-5200 to register for an appointment at one of our hospital vaccination clinics. Visit www.lcmchealth.org/vaccine for more information.

The last day of operations at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will be May 29. Only second doses of Pfizer and Moderna are now being offered at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with the exception of Saturday, May 13 and Wednesday, May 19, when the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered.

LCMC Health has administered tens of thousands of vaccines since opening its doors at the mass vaccination site on March 3, and is humbled to continue its efforts in this historic endeavor, urging the public to “Be in that Number!”

OCHSNER:

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