New Orleans vaccine mandate for children begins Monday
NEW ORLEANS — For the city of New Orleans, the start of a new year also means the start of a new vaccine mandate for children.
Beginning Monday, children ages 5-to-11 must show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants and other businesses in New Orleans.
WWL-TV reports that for children ages 5-to-17, the rate is a little more than 30%, compared to adults at about 80%.
The news outlet cited Dr. Mark Kline, chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, as saying he worries how many children will be affected by the ever-spreading Omicron variant.
“We’ve seen what Delta and now Omicron can do to children,” Kline said. “We know that they are at risk for serious disease and even death.”
Kline says the low vaccine rate among New Orleans' children may boil down to misinformation.
“There’s been so much misinformation conveyed, particularly on social media, and it’s hard for parents to discern what is accurate and what is not,” Kline said.
Kline referred to some of the myths he'd seen online, such as the belief that kids don’t get seriously sick from COVID or that the vaccine will actually hurt children.
He confirmed that all such beliefs are false, saying, “That’s just not happening. We know that the disease is making people sick and some are even dying from the disease, but we are not seeing that caused by the vaccine at all."
According to WWL-TV, the new City vaccination requirement for kids coincides with one at New Orleans public schools, which specifies that students be required to be vaccinated starting in February.
“Given that we have this period of time when kids are out of school, they are able to go get their vaccinations completed,” said Dr. Ryan Pasternak with LSU Health New Orleans pediatrics. “This is the chance. This is the best time parents have to get this done.”
The city mandate for kids 5-to-11 began on Jan. 3. The public schools mandate starts in February.
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