Yesterday, on June 23, 2021, many leading health organizations reaffirmed their support of the use of the mRNA vaccines for people 12 and older — recognizing the rare connection between myocarditis or pericarditis and the vaccines in a small fraction of individuals, but emphasizing that the benefits of the vaccines greatly outweigh the risk. The organizations include:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Heart Association, American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Nurses Association (ANA), American Public Health Association (APHA), Association of Public Health Laboratories, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Big Cities Health Coalition, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

Their statement read:

“As physicians, nurses, public health and healthcare professionals, and, for many of us, parents, we understand the significant interest many Americans have in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially for younger people. Today, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people.

The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.

The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness. They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe. We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm. Especially with the troubling Delta variant increasingly circulating, and more readily impacting younger people, the risks of being unvaccinated are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines. If you get COVID-19, you could get severely ill and be hospitalized or even die. Even if your infection is mild, you or your child could face long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection such as neurological problems or diminished lung function.

We recommend getting vaccinated right away if you haven’t yet. It is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your community, and to return to a more normal lifestyle safely and quickly.”

"The Department takes its responsibility to protect the health of the people of Louisiana seriously and, as such, provides accurate information from credible medical professionals and organizations, like those who have co-signed this statement, in all of its public health efforts," said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. "This is welcome news, and we strongly endorse it and urge all families in Louisiana to seriously consider the COVID-19 vaccines for themselves and their children 12 years and older. The risk of not doing so, as COVID variants circulate the country and Louisiana, is simply too great."

The COVID-19 vaccines are free and readily available. LDH recommends that parents consult their family physician or trusted medical provider for more information and have any questions answered.

To find a vaccine location near you, schedule an appointment or speak with a medical professional, please call LDH’s Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774.