The Centers for Disease Control reported a confirmed case of the Omicron variant in California on Dec. 1, 2021. Omicron carries genetic mutations that may allow for quicker transmission than previous variants. Now is the time to get your booster shot if you are eligible. The emergence of the Omicron variant has made booster shots more important than ever.
As with many vaccines, immunity can decrease over time. A booster shot continues providing longer-term protection and reduces the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Preliminary studies have found that Omicron reduces the efficacy of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, but a booster shot offers a significantly increased level of protection.
COVID-19 vaccines are available now to anyone 5 years old or older. On January 5, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for children ages 12-15, following new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adults 18 years of age and older who have completed their Pfizer vaccine series at least five months ago, Moderna vaccine series at least five months ago, or who completed their Johnson & Johnson vaccine series at least two months ago.
As with many vaccines, immunity can decrease over time. A booster shot continues providing longer-term protection and reduces the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Preliminary studies have found that Omicron reduces the efficacy of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, but a booster shot offers a significantly increased level of protection. The studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant than they have been against the Delta strain and other variants.
But vaccines are still the best defense when it comes to slowing the spread and preventing severe symptoms or illness leading to hospitalization or death.
The Centers for Disease Control says all fully vaccinated adults age 18 and over should receive the booster shot if it's been at least five months since you completed the Pfizer vaccine series, five months since completion of the Moderna vaccine series, or at least two months since you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control says all fully vaccinated children ages 12-15 should receive the Pfizer booster shot if it's been at least five months since they've completed the Pfizer vaccine series.
In addition, it is important to continue practicing social distancing in public and consider masking indoors.
Three COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) are currently available. COVID-19 vaccines are available now to anyone 5 years old or older.
Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Children will only recommend and administer vaccines that the Food and Drug Administration has certified as safe and effective for all patients and employees, including our most vulnerable populations. The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks of forgoing immunization. All three vaccines have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective in preventing serious disease. Consent by a parent or guardian is required for anyone under 18. Consent can be provided through MyOchsner, during ePreCheck, or in person at a vaccination location.
Appointments are encouraged.
MyOchsner users can check availability and schedule their vaccinations via MyOchsner. If you have never been to an Ochsner location before and do not have a MyOchsner account, you can sign up at my.ochsner.org, visit Ochsner.org/appointment-availability or call 1-844-888-2772.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) are recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization for expanded use. Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Children highly encourage vaccination of all eligible children as well as adolescents and adults.
Children given the Pfizer vaccine receive a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms each, which is a third of the dose for those ages 12 and above. A trial of 5-to-11-year-olds who received the Pfizer vaccine showed it was safe and 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in this age group.
You do not need to be an existing or past patient of Ochsner to receive the vaccine at this event or any of our vaccination sites. Children will automatically be scheduled to receive their second vaccine dose in three weeks.
COVID-19 booster shots are now available for all individuals 12 years of age and older who have completed their Pfizer vaccine series at least five months ago. At this time, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-17
COVID-19 booster shots are available for adults 18 and over who have received the Moderna vaccine series at least five months ago, or who completed their Johnson & Johnson vaccine series at least two months ago.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUA) for the Moderna vaccine authorizing use of a single booster dose for all individuals 16 years of age and older after completion of their vaccine series.
Ochsner Health is now administering Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots to individuals at our vaccination locations across the state. Click here for vaccine locations.
Ochsner takes the health and safety of our patients and staff seriously. The following precautions are in place:
Yes, if it's been five months since you finished the Pfizer vaccine series, five months since you finished the Moderna vaccine series or two months since you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control says all adults ages 5 and up should receive the booster.
Note: At this time, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-17. On January 5, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for children ages 12-15, following new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Following guidelines from the FDA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine, even patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The only medical contraindications to receiving this vaccine are severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or severe allergic reaction to components of this vaccine.
Vaccinated individuals who have a breakthrough case of COVID-19 can be contagious and spread COVID-19 to others, including immunocompromised people and children who may not be able to receive the vaccine yet. Despite the Delta variant’s higher viral load than previous variants, getting vaccinated still provides protection against contracting the virus. Most importantly, getting vaccinated protects you from the more severe symptoms experienced by unvaccinated individuals.
Nearly all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. are unvaccinated. Louisiana and Mississippi rank among the lowest in the nation in vaccination rates, leading to the high infection and hospitalization rates in our states. Getting vaccinated protects you from contracting the virus, but most importantly, it protects you from the more severe symptoms experienced by unvaccinated individuals that lead to hospitalization and death.
An unvaccinated person who gets infected can pass the virus to a vaccinated person. And while the vaccine provides great protection from serious illness, extra precautions must still be taken to protect those who are on certain medications or have a seriously weakened immune system. Unvaccinated individuals pose a threat to these vulnerable populations in our communities.
Those waiting too long to be vaccinated are allowing the virus to continue spreading in their communities. As the virus continues to spread, it will mutate and new variants like Delta will emerge. It is imperative that everyone who can get vaccinated does so as soon as possible. The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you and others are protected.
Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, you could be reinfected with another variant of the COVID-19 virus. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection from other variants in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Once those instructions are transcribed, both the mRNA and viral vector vaccines degrade rapidly in your body. The mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. The viral vectors used in COVID-19 vaccines are non-replicating and don’t have the machinery to insert its DNA into our cellular DNA. Both types of vaccines get broken down by your body’s cells and are gone within a few days.
COVID-19 vaccines remain the key to bringing the pandemic under control. However, no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. Experts have always known there will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports no unexpected patterns among those experiencing breakthrough infections.
Meanwhile, pregnant and recently pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness, including preterm birth, from COVID-19 compared to nonpregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
There is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. While pregnant women were excluded from the initial Pfizer vaccine trial, 23 women in the trial became pregnant after receiving the vaccine and delivered healthy babies.
The COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein found on the coronavirus’s surface and “teaches” the body’s immune system to fight the virus that has that specific spike protein on it. The spike proteins targeted by the vaccines are completely different than the protein associated with placental growth and attachment.
While the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. continue to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, available data show that protection against COVID-19 begins to decrease over time. According to the latest assessment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the current protection could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout. By getting a booster shot, you can maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.
Please note you must download the latest version of the MyChart app to see the QR codes. If you received your COVID-19 vaccination at Ochsner, you can display a QR code in the MyChart/MyOchsner app on your phone that you can use to show your vaccination status. Log in to the app, go to the menu at the top of the page, click on “COVID-19’’ under “My Record,’’ and click on the green button at the bottom of the page that says “QR codes.’’
On January 5, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for children ages 12-15, following new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals who received the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine can now receive a booster shot 5 months after completing their Pfizer primary series.
For children ages 5-15, please read below:
Your child will need to receive two doses, scheduled 21 days apart, to be fully effective and provide the most protection.
Pfizer Boosters have recently been approved under EUA for individuals who completed their vaccine series within a certain time period and those at high risk and those with certain medical conditions. To learn more about booster recommendations visit the CDC website.
A third dose for children under 18 is available for children who are immunocompromised.
Criteria are as follows:
If you qualify as an immunocompromised individual, please schedule your third vaccine appointment today on MyOchsner where you will be able to see the locations most convenient to you.
El Dr. Leonardo Seoane, pulmonólogo, intensivista y director académico de Ochsner Health, anima a la comunidad hispana a recibir la vacuna contra el COVID-19 cuando esté disponible.
“Como médico, confió plenamente en la seguridad y eficacia de la vacuna y entiendo lo importante que es para todos poder tener la oportunidad de recibir la vacuna. Por eso mismo me ofrecí como voluntario para ser uno de los primeros en ser vacunado” dijo, el Dr. Seoane.