Vaccine mandate expanded to children for restaurants, venues, public schools in New Orleans; local parents react

A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19...
A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia, on March 26, 2021.(Matt Rourke | AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 3:03 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2021 at 4:21 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, along with health and education leaders, announced an expansion to the citywide vaccine mandate in a press conference on Thurs., Dec. 16.

Beginning on Jan. 3, children ages 5 and up will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter restaurants and other event venues in New Orleans.

New Orleans Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis says students ages 5 and up will be required to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1.

“Pediatric vaccination rates need to catch up to adults,” health director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said.

Many parents said they agree with the new rules.

“We vaccinate and have vaccinated children for years for communicable diseases,” parent Gary Wainwright said.

“I’ll get it for her, but me? I still won’t get it,” Chelsea said of her five year-old daughter.

“Both of my kids are vaccinated,” Chris Myer said. “I probably have a bit different of an opinion because I lost my aunt to COVID, so that was really difficult. With it being by February 1, its a quick turn around for a lot of people, but we are seeing the numbers spike up.”

Avegno said cases are rising at a faster rate than during the Delta surge.

Two weeks before Mardi Gras, city officials will consider reimposing an indoor mask mandate.

On Thursday, Tulane began to reimplement some mitigation measures, such as closing the campus recreation center. Sacred Heart Academy also announced a closure due to COVID.

The Louisiana Department of Health identified Omicron variant outbreaks at universities on Wednesday. Both Tulane and Xavier reported spikes in cases over the last week.

More: Omicron outbreaks identified in Louisiana universities; nearly all cases from New Orleans

LDH is tracking 93 cases of the Omicron variant. Of those cases, 81 have been reported in the New Orleans Area. Ten of those cases are confirmed, the other 71 are considered probable.

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