Ochsner is committed to a clinically-integrated research program with the ultimate goal of improving the health and wellness of our patients and communities. And as the largest academic medical center in Louisiana, we are training the next generation of healthcare professionals to be leaders who can meet evolving healthcare challenges.
Two COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are currently available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) are recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people ages 6 months or older following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization for expanded use.
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. Both 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 and walk-ins are welcomed.
If you're interested in scheduling a vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years, please schedule via MyOchsner or contact your pediatrician.
MyOchsner users can check availability and schedule their vaccinations via MyOchsner or by calling 1-844-888-2772. If you have never been to an Ochsner location before and do not have a MyOchsner account, you can sign up at here. Our secure portal allows patients to schedule with the click of a button. You can also see which Ochsner regions have vaccine availability here.
Patients receiving their first dose via MyOchsner or by calling 1-844-888-2772 will be notified of the exact date and time of your next dose appointment via text or email. If you do not have phone or email, please call our scheduling center at 1-844-888-2772 to confirm the date and time of your appointment.
To view CDC guidance for COVID-19 vaccination schedules based on age and medical condition, click here.
I need to reschedule my COVID-19 vaccine appointment. What do I do?
If you scheduled your first dose via MyOchsner, please log in to reschedule.
We ask that patients keep their second or third dose appointments as they are scheduled, but we understand that sometimes appointment times no longer work. If you must change your vaccine dose appointment, please call 1-844-888-2772 or via MyOchsner.
How can I access my vaccination and testing credentials?
Please note you must download the latest version of the MyOchsner app to see the QR codes. If you received your COVID-19 vaccination at Ochsner, you can display a QR code in the MyOchsner/MyChart 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.’’
Pfizer Vaccine for Ages 17 and Under
Does Ochsner recommend ages 6 months and above receive the COVID-19 Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?
Yes, Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Children continue to encourage all eligible people to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and others and ultimately end this pandemic. If you're interested in scheduling a vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years, please schedule via MyOchsner or contact your pediatrician.
Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Children participated in the adolescent Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine trial for both the 5- to 11-year-old cohort and the 12- to 17-year-old cohort, which means our patients contributed to the safety data submitted to FDA.
Data specific to the 12- to 15-year-old group shows 100% efficacy, robust antibody responses and was well tolerated.
Data specific to the 5- to 11-year-old group show a nearly 91% efficacy for this younger age range.
Are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines FDA-approved for 6 months and older? What is the schedule?
Infants ages 6 months to 4 years: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years following the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) authorization for expanded use.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires three shots. The first two shots are given three to eight weeks apart. The third shot is given at least eight weeks after the second shot. Research shows that the three shots have produced antibody levels similar to those in young adults after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Moderna vaccine requires two shots, given four to eight weeks apart. It’s estimated that this vaccine is about 51% effective in preventing COVID-19 in babies ages 6 months through 23 months. For kids ages 2 through 5 years old, the vaccine is estimated to be 37% effective in preventing COVID-19.
It’s estimated that this vaccine is about 51% effective in preventing COVID-19 in babies ages 6 months through 23 months. For kids ages 2 through 5 years old, the vaccine is estimated to be 37% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Children ages 5- to 11-years-old: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children 5- to 11-years-old following the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) authorization for expanded use.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine involves three shots. The first two shots are given three to eight weeks apart. The third shot is given at least five months after the second shot. It contains a lower amount of mRNA than the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine used for people age 12 and older. Research shows that this vaccine is about 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 in this age group.
The Moderna vaccine requires two shots, given four to eight weeks apart. For kids in this age group, the Moderna vaccine causes an immune response similar to that seen in adults.
Children ages 11- to 17-years-old: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children 11- to 17-years-old following the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) authorization for expanded use.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine involves three shots. The first two shots are given three to eight weeks apart. The third shot is given at least five months after the second shot. It contains the same amount of mRNA as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 18 and older. Research has shown that this vaccine is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 12 through 15.
The Moderna vaccine requires two shots, given four to eight weeks apart. For kids in this age group, the Moderna vaccine causes an immune response similar to that seen in adults. It contains the same amount of mRNA as the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people age 18 and older. For kids ages 12 through 17, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine causes an immune response similar to that seen in adults.
Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Childrenremain committed to educating our patients about the COVID-19 vaccines so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their family.
To schedule an appointment, visit MyOchsner or call 844-888-2772. Appointments are encouraged and walk-ups are welcome.
Why should children get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Although infants, children and teenagers are at less risk of severe complications from COVID-19, the virus has still seriously impacted millions of children and teens across the globe.
Infants, children and teenagers who have COVID-19 may have no symptoms but are still able to transmit the virus to their parents, grandparents, teachers, friends and loved ones.
Vaccinating children and teens for COVID-19 should be treated just like any other routine vaccination. In the same way that children are vaccinated for the measles, mumps and chicken pox, they should also be vaccinated for COVID-19.
Can my child get the vaccine without my knowledge? How do I give my consent?
No, as with any vaccination, it is required that a child under the age of 18 must have parental or guardian consent.
Consent by a parent or guardian is required for anyone under 18. Consent can be provided through MyOchsner, during ePreCheckor in person at the vaccination location.
It is recommended that a child’s parent or legal guardian accompany their child during their vaccination appointment.
Please note, if your child does not already have a MyOchsner account, you must fill out a request form which has a turnaround time of 1 to 3 days.
If the custodial parent has a MyOchsner account, they can request access online using the form under the Main Menu >> Sharing >> Request Access.
If the custodial parent does NOT have a MyOchsner account, they can click here to sign up and put in a request. They will receive a notification and an email with this information as well.
Why has it taken longer for a vaccine to be approved for children and teens?
The vaccine was studied in adults first before expanding to include younger age groups.
A child’s immune system is different than an adult’s and must be specifically studied when given a vaccine. This includes looking at dosage amounts.
Ochsner Health and Ochsner Hospital for Children participated in the adolescent Pfizer vaccine trial for both the 5 – 11-year-old cohort and the 12 –17-year-old cohort, which means our patients contributed to the safety data submitted to FDA. Data specific to the 12 – 15-year-old group shows 100% efficacy, robust antibody responses and was well tolerated. Data specific to the 5 – 11-year-old group show a nearly 91% efficacy for this younger age range.
There are ongoing trials for Moderna and Pfizer for younger age groups, starting as young as six months old. Pending data results, each pharmaceutical company applies for EUA approval for specific age ranges on an individual basis.
My child has a specific medical condition. Can they get the vaccine?
Following guidelines from the FDA EUA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine. 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.
It is important to have this discussion with your pediatrician to determine if this is the best decision for your child.
If my child already had COVID-19, do they still need the vaccine?
Yes. There is not enough information currently available to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. To stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes immunization, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
Studies show that those who are fully vaccinated and have antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection are very protected from being reinfected.
Can my child get routine vaccinations (flu, tetanus, boosters) with, or within a short timeframe of, their COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC now recommends that other vaccines can be given with the COVID-19 vaccine.
This includes the flu vaccine. Individuals ages 6 months and up are recommended by the CDC to receive an annual flu vaccination.
It is important that children who may have missed doses of routine vaccines during the pandemic complete or catch up with these routine immunizations.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in kids? When should I call a doctor?
While extreme serious reactions to the vaccine are rare, you should seek medical care if:
Your child experiences a severe allergic reaction (call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room)
The side effects do not seem to be going away or are getting worse after a few days.
Should I give my child acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the vaccine?
We do not recommend pre-treating your child with pain or fever reducers because it may weaken your child’s immune response to vaccines.
After the vaccine, you may give your child a pain or fever reducers if needed.
If I had a strong reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, is it more likely that my child will as well?
While every individual is unique, there are no indications that reactions run in families.
Could this hinder my child’s development, cause concerns with puberty or affect my child’s future fertility?
There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects child development, puberty or fertility.
What protocols are in place to ensure individuals receive the proper dosage amount based on age?
Ochsner is dedicated to delivering vaccines safely and equitably. As the dose of Pfizer Children’s is one third of the dose of the Pfizer Teen and Adult dose, Ochsner has built in checks and balances into our vaccine administration process to ensure the right dose is delivered to the right individual every time.
The Pfizer Children’s vaccine will be stored separately from the Pfizer Teen and Adult vaccines.
Systemwide, Ochsner will use color coding and clear labeling to ensure that the correct dosage is given.
Vaccine locations, mobile units and events may limit the types of vaccine offered to make storage, administration and communication as clear as possible.
You can find a list of which vaccines are available at different locations on our website at ochsner.org/vaccine.
Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
Is the vaccine safe?
Following full approval from the FDA , no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine as there are no medical contraindications except for a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its components.
Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, MyOchsner or the COVID hotline will automatically schedule the second dose at the same location with the appropriate length of time (21 or 28 days depending on which vaccine you receive) between visits.
Most importantly, all three vaccines have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective in preventing serious disease. All three vaccine have continuous and intense safety monitoring and more than over 346 million doses of COVID-19 have been given in the U.S.
I’m a patient coming to Ochsner for an appointment. What precautions is Ochsner taking to keep me safe during my interactions with providers, staff and my care team?
Ochsner takes the health and safety of our patients and staff seriously. The following precautions are in place:
Fully vaccinated staff will have identification of their vaccination status on their ID badge. Ochsner requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 29, 2021. Learn more.
All Ochsner staff regardless of location, role or vaccination status must be fully masked at all times while indoors at an Ochsner facility. This includes our corporate and non-clinical staff.
All staff are required to complete a mandatory training course on COVID-19 safety standards in the workplace.
How long will the vaccine last?
Since this is a novel virus, we are still unsure how long the vaccine antibodies will last. However, recent data indicate that the mRNA vaccines continue to have a strong response for at least 6 months post-vaccination.
What are the possible side effects of the vaccine?
Like the flu shot, the vaccine is administered into a large muscle in the upper arm. As is the case with any vaccine, allergic reactions may occur. Some may experience mild fever, soreness, muscle aches, headaches, chills, fatigue/tiredness, muscle or joint pain, redness and/or swelling at the site of administration. These are signs of an immune response to the vaccine and expected in some patients.
Based on data reported from the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), possible side effects have been more prominent after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
If you have pain or discomfort, you can take your normal pain reliever or talk to your pharmacist about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, you can apply a clean, cool compress over the area. To reduce discomfort from fever, drink plenty of fluids.
I take aspirin daily as part of my health regimen prescribed by my doctor. I read that you shouldn’t take Tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofen prior to receiving the vaccine. Does that mean I can’t receive the vaccine?
We recommend that people continue their routine medications as prescribed by their physician which may include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Patients who have one of the CDC-listed underlying medical conditions and are prescribed NSAID by their physicians, are not excluded and are encouraged to receive the vaccine.
What happens if I feel ill after receiving the vaccine?
While extreme serious reactions to the vaccine are rare, you should seek medical care if:
you experience a severe allergic reaction call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room
the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
Ochsner On Call can answer questions at 800-231-5257 or 504-842-3155
Can I still become infected after receiving the vaccine?
The vaccine cannot cause you to test positive via nasal swab or saliva test. This is not a live vaccine and will not cause you to shed virus.
It takes four to six weeks to become fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer. Some patients may still become infected or develop symptoms following vaccination against COVID-19. No vaccine is 100% effective. Those that do get infected after vaccination, so called breakthrough cases of COVID-19, are more likely to have mild or no symptoms. Even with the more contagious Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccines have shown 90% effectiveness in preventing severe infections that require hospitalization.
Does the vaccine prevent me from getting it or spreading it?
That is the intent. Instead of traditional vaccines, which may use the virus itself, the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will use a protein on the outside of the virus. This means the vaccine can’t cause COVID-19 in a person, because it’s not using the virus that causes the disease.
This stimulates your body’s immune system to mount a response as if it were a true infection, minimizing your risk of infection or disease burden should you encounter the same virus later. While there is evidence that people with breakthrough cases from the Delta variant can spread COVID-19 to others, those numbers overall are low.
However, in order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the vaccines, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
Are there any restrictions, such as quarantining in place, after receiving the vaccine?
No, there are no restrictions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, but you should continue to wear your mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene.
What is the deferral period for potential blood donors who receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
No deferral is necessary for whole blood or platelet donors who received non-replicating, inactivated or RNA-based vaccines or the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Can individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP)?
No. The FDA does not feel that it would be acceptable for these individuals to donate CCP. This is because it is not known yet if the CCP would be efficacious from a vaccinated person.
Will I still have to mask and social distance after I get the shot or am fully vaccinated?
Yes. Remember, it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until two weeks (14 days) after your second shot.
With the rapid rise in cases due to the Delta variant, the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status especially in COVID-19 hot spots. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.
If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get vaccinated?
Yes. There is not enough information currently available to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. In order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the immunization, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
Can I get routine vaccinations (flu, tetanus, shingles, pneumonia, etc.) with my COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, there is no need to delay other immunizations after your COVID-19 vaccine.
If I am fully vaccinated and have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive, do I still need to quarantine?
If you are fully vaccinated and have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive, you are not required to quarantine unless you are symptomatic.
You should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors for 14 days post exposure, or until you receive a negative test result.
Are there any health restrictions that would prevent me from receiving the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination may not be for everyone. If you are unsure if you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please call your healthcare provider to discuss the possible benefits and risks.
I am pregnant/breastfeeding/undergoing fertility treatments, can I get the vaccine?
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.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine both strongly recommend vaccination for those that are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
In fact, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.
Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
Additionally, you may also review this advice from the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine for those pregnant or breastfeeding.
Should children get vaccine? What ages is the vaccine for?
Based on safety and efficacy data and the recommendations of the FDA and CDC, we recommend that eligible children and adults get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are able.
We understand that many people have questions about the vaccine, so recommend reaching out to your pediatrician to discuss the best decision for your child.
Individuals ages 6 months and above are eligible to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. The dose amount for children age 6 months – 11 years is one third of the adult dose for ages 12 and above.
Ochsner will only recommend and administer vaccines that have been evaluated for safety, effectiveness and individual patient needs.
The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of forgoing immunization.
Are there studies out there showing its effects on fertility and long-term effects on babies born to mothers who got the vaccine while pregnant?
The claim circulating on social media that the COVID-19 vaccine causes female infertility is FALSE and is not supported by any research.
Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization and Distribution
How are vaccines approved? What is the process?
Vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after rigorous and extensive development in laboratories, as well as pre-clinical animal studies and testing on human volunteers, to ensure they are safe and effective.
Monitoring of the vaccine and how it’s produced, including regular facility inspections, must continue for as long as the manufacturer holds a license for the vaccine.
Additionally, the drug sponsor follows a multi-layered approval process, which includes an investigational new drug application, clinical trials and presentation of data to a special FDA advisory committee.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
During a public health emergency, an EUA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make a product available to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases.
The FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have assured the public that no safety or efficacy evaluation steps would be skipped in approving the vaccine.
How long does emergency use last?
An emergency authorization functions like a temporary approval for the duration of the emergency or until the FDA grants approval. To win full FDA approval for a New Drug Application, the pharmaceutical sponsor will have to submit additional research to fully define the drug's safety and benefit for patients.
Should I take a COVID test before or do I need to be COVID-free before receiving the vaccine?
You do not need to take a COVID-19 test prior to receiving the vaccine. If you are COVID-19 positive, then it is recommended that you follow the CDC guidelines and isolate for 10 days to limit exposure to others. Once you are out of isolation, you are able to receive the vaccine.
How much will the vaccine cost?
There will be no direct cost to employees or patients at this time.
Now that a vaccine is in emergency use, does that mean that vaccine trials have stopped?
No, the current vaccine trials will continue for the intended duration which for most trials is 24 months.
Additionally, we will see more trials for new vaccines and new targeted populations and these new potential trials will need research participants.
With more than 7 billion people in the world, more trials are needed to help vaccinate the entire world.
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