DO school offers vaccines; Dr. Speights’ 13-year-old receives vaccine

by George Jared ([email protected]) 212 views 

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University is now offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its on-campus medical clinic. Those interested in receiving a vaccine must schedule an appointment by calling 870-972-2054.

“As a physician, I’m confidently encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Brookshield Laurent, NYITCOM chair of clinical medicine and executive director of the Delta Population Health Institute. “The vaccines are safe and highly efficient. Vaccination is key to ending this pandemic, and we’re thrilled to offer this service at our clinic to help people protect themselves and their families.”

Dr. Shane Speights said he was thrilled recently when the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was made available to those age 12-15. Speights’ 13-year-old son, Parker, was among the first in line when St. Bernards Medical Center began offering the vaccine to those in the newly-approved age group.

“I’m fully confident in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, so much so that I’ve made it a priority to get each of my children vaccinated as soon as they were eligible,” said Speights, who serves as the dean of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University and medical director for the city of Jonesboro.

“As a parent, I’m so grateful that another one of my children is one step closer to being protected from this awful virus. As a physician, I’m excited that this new group of individuals have access to the vaccine so we as a society can take another big step toward ending this pandemic,” he said.

As soon as the FDA, CDC and Arkansas Department of Health approved the vaccine eligibility extension this week, Speights contacted St. Bernards to get the first available appointment for his son. Prior to this week, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been approved to those age 16 and up. On Monday, the FDA approved the companies’ request to make their vaccine available to those ages 12-15. Wednesday afternoon, the CDC gave its approval to extend eligibility, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the move as well.

The new directives came after the publication and review of a clinical trial that included more than 2,000 children ages 12-15. According to the CDC, there were no serious adverse events associated with those who received the vaccine in the trial.

“The data is extremely strong,” Speights said. “The technology is incredible. This vaccine for adults is about 95% effective in preventing contraction, and it’s almost 100% effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization. The data for those aged 12-15 showed 100% efficacy in preventing illness. This is more evidence that they’re safe and they work.”

The NYITCOM at A-State Medical Clinic is located at 333B Red Wolf Boulevard in Jonesboro, adjacent to the St. Bernards Urgent Care facility and just south of Centennial Bank Stadium on the Arkansas State University campus. The NYITCOM at A-State Medical Clinic is housed in the space previously occupied by the A-State Student Health Center. Those interested in receiving a vaccine must schedule an appointment by calling 870-972-2054.

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