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EBR Schools eager to see students vaccinated

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BATON ROUGE - Now that children between the ages of 12 and 15 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, officials with East Baton Rouge Parish Schools are encouraging students to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible.

On Thursday morning, the Louisiana Department of Health is expected to issue formal guidance for the 250,000 youths in Louisiana who are now able to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 fighting shot.

While awaiting further guidance, EBR school officials are eager to see students get inoculated.

Stacy Dupre, Chief Officer of Support and Special Projects with EBR Schools, touched on this during a recent interview with WBRZ, saying, "This is one of the key stones we've been waiting to occur, where more and more students can start receiving the vaccine."

Dupre explained what would be required of students and parents if the student is to be vaccinated at a school-sponsored event, saying, "When it's at a school event, we require a consent form to be signed by the parent, with the students demographic information. We contact the parent to confirm that they signed it."

A list of vaccine events sponsored by EBR Parish Schools can be found here.  

Health experts across the nation are touting the anticipated benefits of the recent vaccine eligibility expansion to include children ages 12-15. 

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN that with the recent expansion, it's likely that a full return to in-person classrooms is mere months away.  

"I think we should be five days a week everybody present in school in the fall," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said. "I think we will be in a place in this pandemic that we will be able to do that. I think we should all be leaning in."

The return to in-person classes by Fall is likely, Walensky said, due to the combination of the high percentage of educators who are vaccinated and the recent recommendation by the CDC to open vaccines up to children as young as 12.

As of Wednesday, the CDC reported that about 45% of US adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and CDC officials say it's likely to lift indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people very soon.

With a continued easing of pandemic-related restrictions, officials say it's key that everyone able to, be vaccinated as soon as possible, include young teens.

Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement to this effect on Wednesday, saying, "This is truly an exciting development that allows us to protect a large population of children and help them regain their lives after a really rough year." 

"As a pediatrician and a parent, I have looked forward to getting my own children and patients vaccinated, and I am thrilled that those ages 12 and older can now be protected. The data continue to show that this vaccine is safe and effective. I urge all parents to call their pediatrician to learn more about how to get their children and teens vaccinated."

According to CNN, health experts are working to allay vaccine-related fears among the public by referring to increased evidence of each vaccine's safety and efficacy.

A CDC officials said Wednesday that vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer continue to be more than 90% effective, based on various studies.

An analysis of the efficacy of mRNA vaccines, which make use of messenger RNA as a means of delivering immunity, reveals that two doses provide strong immunity in a variety of groups, Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra of CDC's respiratory diseases branch told a meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

She added that the vaccination of younger and pre-teens provides far more benefits than harm.

According to Oliver, not only do the vaccinations protect against severe illness in adolescents and the ongoing medical complications that could accompany infection, but they protect the adults in the household.

Meanwhile, clinical trials for the vaccine in adolescents showed efficacy over 100% and presented no serious adverse events, CNN reports.

That said, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 was temporarily paused due to rare cases of blood clots that have been linked to the vaccine.

Now once again available for use, the CDC says use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is more beneficial than it is harmful and that the chances of being vaccinated and developing a blood clot are less than 1 in 300,000.

As of Thursday, the US is reporting over 32 million cases of COVID-19 and 583,000 deaths


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