BATON ROUGE, La – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) now recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone six months and older. Previously, vaccines were only authorized for anyone age 5 and older.
“Making the vaccine available to the last group of people who weren’t eligible is a big step forward in building immunity in our communities and lowering the risks of severe illness or death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tracy Lemelle, a pediatrician who is one of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s medical directors. “We’ve seen in the past two years that young children can get very sick and be hospitalized with COVID-19, and children have died from this virus. The vaccine gives children the best protection against the worst outcomes if they get COVID-19.”
If parents have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Lemelle recommends they talk with their children’s doctor. “Your family’s doctor will be familiar with your child’s health history and can advise what’s best for your personal situation,” she said. “I’d encourage parents to schedule visits and ask about vaccination before the new school year starts, especially if your family is planning to travel or do any activities with large groups during the summer. Getting as many people as possible vaccinated is our best defense against severe COVID-19.”
The Louisiana Department of Health issued state recommendations for parents and health care providers about giving vaccines to newly eligible young children. Health officials also recommend everyone age 5 and older who has gotten the COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster when eligible, depending on their health status and risk factors.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana covers the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters at $0 out of pocket for eligible members of individual and employer health plans. Eligible members of Medicare and Medicaid plans or uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. This no-cost coverage is required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is sponsoring free ride programs for COVID-19 vaccine and booster appointments statewide. Many community organizations offer similar programs. If you do not have a vehicle, are unable to drive or have other barriers to getting your COVID-19 vaccine, call 211 to get connected to programs in your area.
The State of Louisiana’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage at LDH.La.Gov/CovidVaccine has information about the vaccine or booster shots and a list of vaccine locations. You can also call the state COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 to speak with a medical professional.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos on the COVID-19 vaccines and other health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can connect with Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA for updates. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.