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CHRISTUS Cabrini continues efforts to vaccinate students in Central Louisiana

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 6:07 PM CST
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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - With COVID vaccines being approved for children aged five and up, CHRISTUS Cabrini Health Center is working to make the shots more accessible to students in the area.

Cabrini has offered free COVID vaccines at its 17 school-based health centers across five parishes in the area since the start of the school year.

Back in August when the school year began, local schools that have CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini school-based health centers sent home COVID vaccine consent forms. Parents then had the choice to have their children vaccinated.

Since then, over 8.5% of the student body at Pineville Jr. High has been vaccinated at the school health center.

“I think it’s a mixed reaction but the parents that did decide to vaccinate were appreciative that we were being proactive and offering the vaccine on-site,” said Carol Hirchak, the nurse practitioner at the PJH health center. “So, they didn’t have to leave work, the kids could be seen, could be monitored with our school-based health center nurse after the vaccine.”

Ashley Broussard, a nurse at PJH school’s health center, said some of the students that have received the vaccine have explained why they want the shot.

“Some students have even said ‘oh, my grandma signed my form, yes, I’m going to get it to help protect them’, or ‘yes, I have little nieces and nephews because I live with my sister and I want to help to protect them.’ So a lot of them are more proactive about protecting their family members and community,” said Broussard.

Also, the children that have been vaccinated at Pineville Jr. High have not seen any adverse effects from the shot.

“So we had one or two kids come back with a sore arm the next day, we had maybe one or two students that had a low-grade fever, but nothing more than what we have seen with a flu vaccine,” said Hirchak

The next wave of COVID vaccine consent forms to go home with students will be after the Christmas break, but students don’t have to wait. Any school with a Cabrini school-based health center can find the consent form online on the school’s website.

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