Concern grows returning to school as pediatric covid vaccinations lag

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:14 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Mother, Kathleen Roevens went through her own conversations and research process when deciding to get her vaccine, and wanted to afford her three children the same opportunity.

“Our youngest we had multiple long discussions about it. I tried to be as honest and open as I could about the positives and the negatives of the vaccine. And he was excited to get vaccinated,” said Roevens.

As they’re all returning to school now, she says she’s more at peace knowing they’re vaccinated.

“It’s everything from the way they where they go to eat lunch, you know how many people can be sitting at the table and wearing masks and all those things. You know, it would be nice to get back to some sort of some sense of normalcy with it,” said Roevens.

According to data from the state health department, 7.5 percent of 5 to 17-year-old’s in the state have received at least one shot, almost 9 percent in the greater New Orleans region.

Pediatricians say those figures are not where they should be returning to school.

“For the five to 11 as well as the 12 and a half we do recommend the Covid vaccine, the studies show safety good safety measures. Efficacy is good… we’ve seen the outcomes. If there’s something that we can do to prevent an illness, we always try our best,” said pediatrician Dr. Heather Porche.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers says in-person learning is best which is how they’ve achieved an estimated 90 percent of their 18 thousand members in the state to get fully vaccinated.

“We want to make sure that if teachers have to be around, students that might spread the virus that they are sticking to the other safety measures that we know work as well, physical distancing masks, and just increasing sanitation and hygiene practices,” said Heather Cushman with The Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

Every parent strives to make the best decision for their child, but medical experts, education advocates, and a growing number of parents say the best decision for their child is to get vaccinated.

“I do support the vaccine with my own children,” said Porche.

“I think it’s important to realize it’s not just about you it’s about the other people that you protect,” said Roevens.

New Orleans Public Schools which requires all students to be vaccinated by February first updated their covid guidance.

They’re recommending mask wearing indoors and outdoors, limiting sporting spectators to team members’ vaccinated family members, and limiting extracurricular activities, assemblies and gatherings in cafeterias.

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