COVID-19 Vaccine & Diverse Communities

To us, the people we care for are not just patients. They are our friends, neighbors and family. It is a privilege and a responsibility to deliver care in our own communities, and we don’t take that for granted.

No matter our individual backgrounds, it is our responsibility as human beings and as Louisiana’s largest employer and healthcare provider to lead and maintain an open, ongoing dialogue across the communities we serve. Ochsner Health’s actions, values and purpose remain clear at every phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are here for our patients. We provide all patients and their families with compassionate care. Our values place people first, and we provide the same level of care to our patients, regardless of race, age or gender.

Listen and Share the Facts in Your Community

FREE Virtual National Health Equity Summit

Dr. Eboni Price-Haywood will be representing OXIHER in a pre-recorded session on Tuesday, June 8 at 11:15 a.m. CST

El Dr. Leonardo Seoane habla acerca de la importancia de vacunarse contra el COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the disproportionate burden communities of color experienced throughout Louisiana.

Ochsner is committed to alleviating the healthcare disparities many people in our state experience and understanding why those disparities occur.

Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups

At Ochsner Health, we understand established social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. The term racial and ethnic minority groups includes people of color with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. There is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and healthcare access, affecting these groups influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I deal with the mistrust people have for healthcare and/or the vaccine?

How do I deal with the mistrust people have for healthcare and/or the vaccine that I am hearing about in my community? How do I arm people with the right information?

  • It is important to identify a trusted person that is well established in the community to speak to vaccination. Sharing their own hesitancy or fears and experience receiving the vaccine would be a message that would be beneficial. Ochsner understands that our patients often want to receive or learn about healthcare from people who look like them and/or speak the same language so they can approach care from possible shared experiences.
  • Ochsner recognizes that health inequity, whether due to race, ethnicity, gender or low socioeconomic status, contributes to poor health and is a complex issue that requires careful investigation and novel solutions. To better understand the challenges related to these factors, Ochsner is partnering with Xavier University of Louisiana to develop the Ochsner Xavier Institute for Health Equity and Research (OXIHER).
  • In order to achieve herd immunity, we must follow safety protocols. This includes wearing a mask, washing our hands, practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get vaccinated?

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get vaccinated? How long should you wait to get the vaccine after having the virus?

  • 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 must use every tool available which includes the vaccination, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
  • If you currently have COVID-19, you must follow the CDC isolation recommendations prior to leaving your home and should also have recovered from COVID-19 prior to receiving a vaccine. It is acceptable to delay vaccination for 90 days as immunity to COVID-19 lasts at least that long.

How do we know this vaccine isn’t risky/is safe for long term use?

  • Following guidelines from the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine, even patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there are no medical contraindications except for a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its components. Contraindication is a condition that serves as a reason to not take a certain medical treatment due to the harm that it would cause the patient.
  • In fact, 6-month data for Pfizer just released and vaccine appears to remain effective and they did not report long term concerns.
  • 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.
  • Ultimately, it is a personal decision to risk getting infected and having poor health outcomes versus the smaller risk of adverse reaction to the vaccine. Ochsner wants to provide each person with the latest factual information to make the best decision for their situation.

Will the vaccine affect fertility?

  • The claim circulating on social media that the COVID-19 vaccine causes female infertility is FALSE and is not supported by any research. You may review this advice from the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine for those pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Hear more from our experts on the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility by reading this blog and listening to this podcast.

What do we know about the new strain and the vaccine’s efficacy against it?

What do we know about the new strain and the vaccine’s efficacy against it? Is the current vaccine against the new strain of the virus?

  • The discovery of new variants of viruses is not an unusual thing. Viruses constantly change through a process called mutation and it can happen any time. In fact, doctors and scientists expect new variants or strains of a virus to occur over time. Sometimes these variants or strains disappear, but sometimes, they stick around.
  • Scientists are studying how these variants affect existing COVID-19 therapies and vaccines. In the meantime, the best course of action is still to plan on getting the vaccine as soon as you can.
  • Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of forgoing immunization including risk of infection, hospitalization or even death.
  • The CDC, in collaboration with other public health agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health, is monitoring the variants closely. As new information becomes available, Ochsner Health, and the CDC, will provide updates.

Have More Questions?

Special Accommodations

Disability alone may not be related to higher risk for getting COVID-19 or having severe illness. However, some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of their underlying medical conditions. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.

Special Accommodations - Frequently Asked Questions

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 due to health reasons, please call your healthcare provider to discuss the possible benefits and risks.
  • Vaccination will play a broader role beyond preventing infections. Vaccinations are critical in resuming education, providing opportunities for interactions and offering the full array of treatments and other services for those with intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders. Young children with developmental delays are losing their skills and receding progression. Learn more about COVID-19 and disabilities here.

Should children get the current COVID-19 vaccine?

Should children get the current COVID-19 vaccine? What ages is the current COVID-19 vaccine for?

  • Based on trial data, people ages 16 and 17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine under Louisiana’s eligibility criteria.
  • Additionally, there are a few trials that are enrolling various age groups including children ages 12 or greater with new trials for lower age groups that start as young as six months old.
  • Just like the adult COVID-19 vaccine trials, data from children and adolescent COVID-19 vaccine trials will need to support the safety and efficacy of the vaccines before FDA EUA approval for the population.
  • 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.

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 rigorous approval process, which includes an investigational new drug application, clinical trials and presentation of data to a special FDA advisory committee.

How long will it take for me to be fully protected after this shot?

  • Protection against moderate/severe disease starts about two weeks after you get vaccinated. By four weeks after the shot, data from the clinical trial showed there were no hospitalizations or deaths.
  • If you’d like to read more, click here.

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.

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.If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.Report side effects to FDA/CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Reporting instructions are included in Fact Sheet you received when you got your vaccine.

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