COVID vaccine

The Pfizer Vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

All Louisiana children ages 6 months and up are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine following authorization from federal officials, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

The new guidance came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepted the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of the three-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) recommends that all eligible children receive the COVID-19 vaccine and has notified all providers that this guidance is “effective immediately.”

Pediatric vaccine deliveries for this newly eligible group will begin the week of June 20, 2022. The two vaccines available to young children are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe for children ages 6 months and up and help guard against severe COVID-19 outcomes, including certain heart conditions, long-term complications, hospitalization and death,” state health officials said in a statement.

Since March 2020, Louisiana has lost 21 children to COVID-19, all of whom were not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, officials said.

In addition, the Department of Health has confirmed 331 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a life-threatening condition linked to COVID-19 in which different body parts become inflamed.

State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter urged parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the COVID-19 vaccines “have saved thousands of lives in Louisiana.”

“With the addition of this younger age group, we recommend everyone in the family ages 6 months and up receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Kanter said. “Studies have shown vaccination confers additional protection even for those who have previously been infected.

“While most children experience only mild symptoms from COVID-19, unfortunately some do get quite ill. As it has for adults and older children, vaccination of younger children will save lives.”

LDH has published a list of all providers who have ordered initial allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine for under-5-year-olds on its website: ldh.la.gov/kidsvax.

Families can also call the COVID-19 Support Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 to speak with a medical professional, find a nearby vaccine provider, and schedule an appointment.

The dosing schedule for both vaccines are as follows:

-- The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a primary series of two doses, one month apart.

-- The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a primary series of three doses, in which the initial two doses are administered three weeks apart, followed by a third dose, administered at least eight weeks after the second dose.

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