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Parents, business owners prepare for expanded New Orleans vaccine mandate for ages 5-17

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – With multiple signs and displays at the front door of the High Hat Café, there is no doubt that you will need to flash proof of vaccination.

“There’s no real conversation we have at the door with people other than what we do and how we do it,” said owner Chip Apperson.

It was science and the focus on health and safety that guided the owner, Apperson, to firmly adhere to the town’s immunization mandates. It won’t be any different, he says when they also have to ask parents for proof of vaccination for the little ones.

“We’ve always kind of followed the science and followed what our elected officials asked us to do… I think if we were more austere by following that in the beginning, we would be out of this mess,” Apperson said.

More than 80% of adults in the city are vaccinated, but just 34% of 5 to 17 year olds are vaccinated. City leaders say that considering the Omicron variant on the rise, it was time to put in additional COVID restrictions.

“It is important that children get vaccinated for them. Because the current pandemic with the Omicron variant continues to increase in our communities. So as much protection as we can get across the age spectrum, the better we do, ”said Dr Nicholas Van Sickels.

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Infectious disease Dr Nicholas Van Sickels of CrescentCare says they have worked with area schools to improve immunization rates among toddlers, an effort he says has slowed down throughout the season vacation but getting better.

“In general, yes, most kids do very well with COVID, but some don’t. And some get very sick and some have weakened immune systems. So for us as a society it is important for all of us to get vaccinated so that all of our children get vaccinated, ”said Van Sickels.

“He’s still, even though they’re not required. He always wears his mask at school. So I have the impression that he still has this little tampon, ”said parents Aja and Afredo Roman.

The Romans say they’re not yet ready to make that decision for their 6-year-old, hoping to have more conversations with their pediatrician before they pull out the needles.

“I’m not 100% against it, I just need more information,” said Aja Roman.

They say that in the meantime, New Orleans restaurants can just be booked for date nights.

“That means we’re going to have to leave him with our Abuela at home and then we’ll have dinner once a week,” the Romans said.

The city currently does not have a mask mandate in effect, but it strongly encourages masking indoors.

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