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What you can expect vaccinating children 5 to 11-years-old, how to ease anxiety about getting a shot

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 5:58 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 6:19 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Ochsner Baton Rouge started vaccinating children as young as five on Sunday, Nov. 7. This comes as Louisiana children ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine following formal recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH).

Dr. Amy Rabalais, a Pediatric ENT with Ochsner said her daughter was one of the first to receive her vaccine. Her daughter watched her 12-year-old brother get the COVID vaccine and said it made her feel ready.

“As a parent, I have felt very powerless to protect my children,” said Dr. Rabalais. “You know I can make my child wear a mask, and I can try and keep her safe. But I also want her to be with friends. I can’t control what she does outside of the home. I want to take her to restaurants and all of these things that could potentially be high-risk activities, and now I have the control.”

If your child is nervous about getting vaccinated, the doctor said your children may be like hers where they do best when they know information ahead of time. Explain where you are going, why you are doing it and what it will feel like.

Some children who have anxiety may prefer to wait until the vaccine is administered at their pediatrician’s office. Other children may be fine at the vaccine site. Ochsner vaccine sites will have activities for kids, stem activities and coloring to help fill those 15 minutes of waiting afterward. The activities will also help with some of those anxieties as well.

Dr. Rabalais said kids should get the vaccine dosage of whatever age they are right now. 11-year-olds should get the full pediatric dose which is a third of the dose of the adults. The doctor said to date there have been no vaccinated children that have ended up in the ICU or unfortunately have died of COVID.

“Children can get COVID, can pass COVID and we don’t have quite enough time to have two vaccines for Thanksgiving, but still having one before Thanksgiving is great, and then to be fully vaccinated by Christmas will be such a wonderful thing to make families feel comfortable for gathering in large groups,” said Dr. Rabalais.

Health care leaders said they have different locations across Baton Rouge to make the vaccine as accessible as possible. Appointments are preferred by calling 844-888-2772 or by visiting myochsner.org.

Walk-ins are accommodated as supply lasts. You’ll find that those times are after school since it’s most convenient for families.

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