Ochsner gives out first COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 11:29 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 8:51 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Thursday, Ochsner gave out its first doses of the COVID vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.

“Be brave,” 5-year-old Murphy Dismukes said. “Come get safe from the virus.”

“It’s okay and it doesn’t hurt very much,” 7-year-old Rosemary Sampson said.

For parents, like Rosemary’s mom, Dr. Avery Sampson, this is a monumental day.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long, long time and we wanted to be one of the first to kind of lead the way and I wanted to show my patients as well,” Sampson said.

Sampson is a pediatrician and wants to encourage other parents because she says it’s the best bet we have right now and we don’t know when the next surge might be if there is one.

“I would recommend talking to your pediatrician, calling them letting them answer your questions, making sure you feel comfortable and safe after you’ve spoken with them,” Sampson said.

For some parents, they’ve already thought this through.

“We’ve done it there’s enough time passed between the time that we actually got our vaccine and the time that they’ve gotten there’s, so I’m comfortable,” Carmalia Lee said.

While some parents are hesitant because of their child’s age, for others this comes as a relief after Louisiana experienced a rise in pediatric cases and hospitalizations during the Delta surge.

“I’m really relieved that they’re starting the process especially after two years of being in the pandemic and now they get to start the process before the holidays, which is great,” Stacy Swanson said.

Stacy and Carmalia’s daughters, Ruby and Gianna are best friends and wanted to take this step together.

“It didn’t really feel like much, even though I know it’s going to do a lot, it felt more like someone just poked my arm than a shot,” Ruby said.

“I can go places and I can travel and I can see my friends,” Gianna said.

For their mothers, it means protection.

“Not just our kids’ but people who can’t be vaccinated yet, just like we would for anything else,” Swanson said.

“It’s like we’ve got a passport to normalcy and I’m very, very excited,” Lee said.

This age group gets just a third of the Pfizer dose given to teens and adults and the FDA has approved it.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children 5 to 11 account for 40% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases.

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