Children’s Hospital NO’s ThriveKids Program Organizes Large-Scale COVID-19 Vaccination Effort

In partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, Children’s Hospital New Orleans is serving as a resource for schools across Louisiana and to provide guidance on best practices, procedures, resources, and robust testing for COVID-19 as part of Children’s ThriveKids Student Wellness Project. The list of school services available through Children’s Hospital now includes much anticipated vaccination against COVID-19.

“This is an important moment in our fight against COVID-19 and a reflection of Children’s Hospital’s ongoing commitment to do the right thing for kids,” says John R. Nickens IV, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Children’s is dedicating significant resources toward vaccination for school team members because we know the faster we can vaccinate, the faster we can get back to normal learning environments for our children – a day we are all incredibly hopeful for.”

“Children’s Hospital is proud to be the vaccination solution for schools across the Greater New Orleans Area, ensuring school team members can receive the COVID-19 vaccine immediately upon the Governor’s announcement of Phase 1B Tier 2 distribution,” says Jonathan Brouk, chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “We are expecting Tier 2 distribution to begin in the next few weeks, and Children’s Hospital is prepared to begin rapidly vaccinating large numbers of teachers and other school team members.”

Last week, Children’s Hospital initiated a large, on-campus vaccination clinic, which the hospital is currently using to vaccinate school nurses and school team members age 70 and above, under Louisiana’s Phase 1B Tier 1 distribution guidelines.

"I remain inspired by the hard work our education and healthcare communities have done to ensure the health and safety of our teachers, students, and families," says Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It is vital that our educators are included in Phase 1B Tier 2 distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, they are essential to the

city's recovery and to the wellbeing of our children. Collaboration is critical and our city will continue to benefit from this type of partnership as we continue to recover from the pandemic."

Children’s Hospital’s ThriveKids team is coordinating directly with schools now, including NOLA Public Schools, private, charter, and parochial schools across the New Orleans area, to plan for widespread vaccination of all school team members as soon as Tier 2 distribution begins.

“We’re excited to learn our school nurses will be among the first school team members to receive the vaccine,” says NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “Our dedicated nurses are often the first health expert children see in this pandemic. They’re the healthcare workers who’ve been rolling up their sleeves in our schools, and they are indispensable in our fight to keep our students and staff safe. We are grateful to the state and LCMC Health for helping take care of them and, over time, our entire school community.”

Children’s Hospital is preparing to provide as many as 15,000 – 20,000 vaccines within the first 4-6 weeks of beginning Phase 1B Tier 2 distribution, as supplies allow.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine distribution for school team members, schools are asked to email thrivekids@lcmchealth.org or call (504) 894-5109.

ThriveKids, The Student Wellness Project, is a community-based program that provides school-based virtual care, mental and behavioral health services, sports medicine, chronic condition management, COVID-19 support, school nurse support, a dedicated nurse hotline for school wellness, and best practice reference materials for schools throughout Louisiana. ThriveKids involves direct collaboration with schools, and customized programs based on each school partner’s specific needs.

Learn more about ThriveKids, The Student Wellness Project, at chnola.org/ThriveKids.