COVID hospitalizations decline, pediatric vaccine will be available soon

Published 7:25 am Sunday, November 7, 2021

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital officials reported that COVID hospitalizations are on the decline and plans are underway for rolling out the pediatric COVID shot for children.

“As of November 4, we have four COVID hospitalizations, of which only one is on a ventilator,” Robbin Odom, chief nursing officer, said during the fourth surge, “Our COVID hospitalization census peaked at 36.”

Late September, the hospital called a press conference to publicize it was at its capacity and urging the public to be vaccinated as the best precaution against contracting the virus or as a way to lessen the severity of the Delta variant if contracted.

“We continue to see that many of those with a more severe course of illness are among the unvaccinated, or those with underlying health conditions,” Odom said.

The hospital has administered 1,642 COVID Pfizer brand vaccines since Aug. 1, 2021.

Vaccines are currently available at the following locations at no charge to the patient: WCCH (Main Campus/Cypress St. entrance), Hackberry Rural Health Clinic, Johnson Bayou Rural Health Clinic, and Vinton Medical Clinic.

Those interested in scheduling a COVID vaccine appointment for their children can contact their local pediatrician or the Calcasieu Parish Health Unit, according to Odom.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years of age is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, according to a report from the FDA . It is a lower dose than that used for individuals 12 years and older. In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age make up 39 percent of cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age. According to the CDC, approximately 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age resulted in hospitalization.

As of Oct. 17, 691 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. in individuals less than 18 years of age, with 146 deaths in the 5 through 11 years age group, according to the FDA.

“We will communicate when the children’s vaccine will be available,” said Odom.

Pediatric Lyle Stephenson, M.D., said his phone has been “blown up” with calls from parents asking about the vaccine. He supports the use of the vaccine, saying its benefits far outweigh the risk He has two children, ages eight and 11, who will be vaccinated “as soon as we get it.”