Children 16 years and older with underlying conditions now qualify for the vaccine

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 4:48 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In Louisiana, anyone over the age of 16 with an underlying health condition outlined by the CDC can now receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Although there is limited research involving children, for the new priority group that qualifies, pediatrician Dr. Anatole Karpovs says he’s recommending the vaccine.

“As of right now, the vaccine has been tested down to 16 years of age and older and has been demonstrated to be an overall safe vaccine. That’s not to say you can’t get side effects. Absolutely. Every time we give a medicine, there is a chance you can get side effects.”

For those that qualify, he says the vaccine can prove to be beneficial for those with severe conditions.

“I do recommend it for those children with severe conditions, especially with immune system deficiencies. I think it’s important to protect those as much as possible.”

He says it would also prevent Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrom in Children (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition children have developed as a result of the coronavirus.

“Yes, absolutely. If we can prevent coronavirus, then we will definitely prevent MIS-C because that is a part of the definition of MIS-C. It’s because of coronavirus infection.”

For those on the fence, he says, they should take into consideration the elderly and others they’d be able to keep safe.

“So, can we protect other people in the household by getting the eligible children immunized? Yes.”

Dr. Karpovs says research is being conducted that includes younger children, however, he says those trials may not be completed until next year.

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