Local pediatricians join effort to increase confidence in coronavirus vaccines

Gov. John Bel Edwards and state health leaders have called on doctors to help instill confidence in the coronavirus vaccines by having fact-based conversations with their patients.Dr. Anthony Hudson, with Lakeside Pediatrics, said he already has those conversations daily. “Just today, I had three parents asking about it,” said Hudson. “I think they’re already leaning, perhaps, towards vaccination if they’re already asking those questions, but certainly, vaccine hesitancy is very normal.”Hudson told WDSU that he discusses the technology used to make the vaccine, as well as giving his personal opinion.”I like to phrase it in terms of what I would do for my own daughters, and I would like to vaccinate them,” said Hudson. “But they’re only 8 and 9.”Right now, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone 12 and up. But on Monday, Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said Moderna could receive authorization for the same age group in a month or two. He added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it is safe to have your child vaccinated against coronavirus at the same time they receive other, routine immunizations.”Now when they go into their pediatrician’s office, if their pediatrician has the COVID vaccine, they can give it at the same time as any other vaccine that they need to be caught up on,” Kanter said.Hudson said that is good news because some families put off preventative care during the pandemic.”It’s disheartening to see that happen, to not see as much attention to coming in for well visits, but also, that’s something that’s very understandable,” said Hudson. “As a parent of two myself, I can certainly see the hesitancy to go out in public. There were so many questions early on.”Many parents still have questions about getting their kids vaccinated and what it could mean for the upcoming school year.Angelia Vicknair, a mother of two, runs the New Orleans Mom blog. She said thousands of followers are still on the fence about what to do.”A lot of parents just have questions,” said Vicknair. “They’re trying to make their own decisions as the CDC is changing plans.”Vicknair told WDSU she still has not decided if she will vaccinate her children, 7 and 10, when they are eligible.”We’re going to have to make the decision as parents about how we want to handle it,” Vicknair said.Hudson encouraged anyone with questions about the vaccine, to reach out to a trusted source, like their pediatrician.”Nothing can really substitute for just that face-to-face interaction, that ability to look a pediatrician in the eye and ask questions,” said Hudson.WDSU contacted local school districts about how they plan to handle issues like masking and vaccinations this fall.NOLA Public Schools sent us the following statement:”As we have since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, NOLA Public Schools continues to follow its Roadmap to Reopening, consult its medical advisors, and follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on the best practices to keep students and staff healthy and safe.”Everyone entering school buildings this summer will be required to wear masks and follow precautionary COVID-19 safety procedures. Further guidance for School Year 2021-2022 will be provided after an upcoming review of the NOLA-PS Roadmap to Reopening scheduled to take place this summer.”Jefferson Parish Public Schools shared this statement, which was sent to families on Tuesday:”JP Schools Family, this afternoon, Governor John Bel Edwards announced an end to the statewide school mask mandate following the end of the current academic semester. As such, we will continue to follow our current health and safety protocols through the last day of school for students (May 26) and teachers (May 27). Plans for next school year will be based on guidance from federal, state and local officials and the public health situation. As we return to more normal times, vaccinations remain an essential piece to keeping our schools and community safe. We encourage everyone who is eligible to seek out vaccination opportunities this summer. For vaccine resources, visit jpschools.org/vaccine.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards and state health leaders have called on doctors to help instill confidence in the coronavirus vaccines by having fact-based conversations with their patients.

Dr. Anthony Hudson, with Lakeside Pediatrics, said he already has those conversations daily.

“Just today, I had three parents asking about it,” said Hudson. “I think they’re already leaning, perhaps, towards vaccination if they’re already asking those questions, but certainly, vaccine hesitancy is very normal.”

Hudson told WDSU that he discusses the technology used to make the vaccine, as well as giving his personal opinion.

“I like to phrase it in terms of what I would do for my own daughters, and I would like to vaccinate them,” said Hudson. “But they’re only 8 and 9.”

Right now, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone 12 and up.

But on Monday, Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said Moderna could receive authorization for the same age group in a month or two.

He added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it is safe to have your child vaccinated against coronavirus at the same time they receive other, routine immunizations.

“Now when they go into their pediatrician’s office, if their pediatrician has the COVID vaccine, they can give it at the same time as any other vaccine that they need to be caught up on,” Kanter said.

Hudson said that is good news because some families put off preventative care during the pandemic.

“It’s disheartening to see that happen, to not see as much attention to coming in for well visits, but also, that’s something that’s very understandable,” said Hudson. “As a parent of two myself, I can certainly see the hesitancy to go out in public. There were so many questions early on.”

Many parents still have questions about getting their kids vaccinated and what it could mean for the upcoming school year.

Angelia Vicknair, a mother of two, runs the New Orleans Mom blog. She said thousands of followers are still on the fence about what to do.

“A lot of parents just have questions,” said Vicknair. “They’re trying to make their own decisions as the CDC is changing plans.”

Vicknair told WDSU she still has not decided if she will vaccinate her children, 7 and 10, when they are eligible.

“We’re going to have to make the decision as parents about how we want to handle it,” Vicknair said.

Hudson encouraged anyone with questions about the vaccine, to reach out to a trusted source, like their pediatrician.

“Nothing can really substitute for just that face-to-face interaction, that ability to look a pediatrician in the eye and ask questions,” said Hudson.

WDSU contacted local school districts about how they plan to handle issues like masking and vaccinations this fall.

NOLA Public Schools sent us the following statement:

“As we have since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, NOLA Public Schools continues to follow its Roadmap to Reopening, consult its medical advisors, and follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on the best practices to keep students and staff healthy and safe.

“Everyone entering school buildings this summer will be required to wear masks and follow precautionary COVID-19 safety procedures. Further guidance for School Year 2021-2022 will be provided after an upcoming review of the NOLA-PS Roadmap to Reopening scheduled to take place this summer.”

Jefferson Parish Public Schools shared this statement, which was sent to families on Tuesday:

“JP Schools Family, this afternoon, Governor John Bel Edwards announced an end to the statewide school mask mandate following the end of the current academic semester. As such, we will continue to follow our current health and safety protocols through the last day of school for students (May 26) and teachers (May 27). Plans for next school year will be based on guidance from federal, state and local officials and the public health situation. As we return to more normal times, vaccinations remain an essential piece to keeping our schools and community safe. We encourage everyone who is eligible to seek out vaccination opportunities this summer. For vaccine resources, visit jpschools.org/vaccine.”

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