METAIRIE, La. — A Jefferson Parish Councilman is sharing a personal story, hoping it will encourage more people to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Dominick Impastato says everyone in his immediate family is now infected by the virus, except for him.
“The hardest thing for me, I’ve been away from them for 10 days,” Impastato said. “I’ve been completely out of the house for more than 10 days now.”
Impastato got the Covid-19 vaccine, but his wife Shannon couldn’t because of concerns about a medical condition. She was exposed to the virus. Now Shannon and their three children ages 10, 12 and 14 have tested positive.
As a result, Impastato’s son Dominick IV and Daughter Mia missed their baseball and softball World Series tournaments.
“Thankfully, my kids are healthy, and their physical symptoms are minor, if at all,” Impastato said. “Shannon, thankfully is coming through without a lot of the major adverse physical effects that a lot of people have withstood.”
Impastato is now urging people to get the vaccine and to make sure their children receive it when they are eligible. He says he plans to get his older children vaccinated as soon as possible.
Tulane University epidemiologist Dr. Susan Hassig says the current data suggests young people in Louisiana are not rushing out to get the shot.
“It does not seem that the numbers of individuals 12-17 are getting vaccinated that we would certainly like to see, especially with school going to be starting in just a few weeks,” Hassig said.
Hassig repeated the advice of Louisiana's Public Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter.
“The best time to be vaccinated was 5 or 6 weeks ago,” she said. “But failing that, now is the best time to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.”
Impastato says the benefit to the community of getting the vaccine outweighs the risk.
“If you can get it without it effecting your other medical conditions, it’s just got to happen,” Impastato said. “It’s the best prevention that’s out there right now.”
Impastato added getting the vaccine could also prevent the return of Coronavirus mitigation measures such as mask mandates and business shutdowns.