School just one week away, health officials urging eligible children to get vaccinated now

Only three percent of school-aged children are currently vaccinated in Central Louisiana.
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 3:44 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Louisiana is now number one in the nation when it comes to COVID-19 spread. Of the more than 11,000 new cases reported over the weekend, more than 2,000 of those are children.

With school just a week away for Rapides Parish students, local health officials are urging parents to get their eligible children vaccinated immediately.

Region Six Office of Public Health Director Dr. David Holcombe tells KALB only three percent of school-aged children are currently vaccinated in Central Louisiana.

KALB also spoke with a pediatrician at Rapides Women’s and Children’s who tells us they’re seeing more COVID-19 infections among children and the younger population. Some of those children have even been placed in the ICU for treatment. Since kids under 12 aren’t yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the pediatrician says universal masking is a must for every person two and older.

He also says schools can do their part by having strong ventilation, a screening process in place to check for COVID-19 symptoms and a designated quarantine area. Without these measures in place, officials say our rate of infection will continue t grow at an alarming rate.

“In the past year or so, we’ve been getting a lot of patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. But now, we’re also getting COVID-19 infections among the very young. Last month, we even had a patient who was just three months old, had a COVID-19 infection, was in the ICU and needed to be on a ventilator.”

Dr. Marvin Mata, Pediatric Critical Care Specialist for Rapides Women's and Children's Hospital

Rapides Regional will begin sharing its number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients on a daily basis. On Tuesday, the hospital recorded a total of 48 patients with coronavirus. Out of those patients, six are vaccinated and 42 are unvaccinated. KALB also reached out to Cabrini to get their case count. On Tuesday, the hospital also recorded 48 coronavirus patients.

Rapides Parish students go back to school on Tuesday, August 10th.

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