Pediatrician: Vaccine will be end game of virus

Published 4:14 am Thursday, August 5, 2021

By John Guidroz

Dr. David Wallace with the Children’s Clinic of Southwest Louisiana recommended Wednesday that residents get the COVID-19 vaccine, calling it very safe and saying the benefits outweigh “extremely minimal risks.” He said the end game to combatting the virus is getting more people vaccinated.

The city of Lake Charles shared the 6-minute virtual conversation between Wallace and Mayor Nic Hunter on its Facebook page. Wallace said COVID-19 has caused more significant illness, hospitalizations and deaths than anything he’s seen during his nearly 40 years of experience serving the community. Wallace added he got the vaccine Dec. 16, one day after it first arrived in Lake Charles.

Wallace said more people who may have been initially hesitant to get the vaccine are now choosing to get it, especially with the highly-contagious Delta variant.

“We’re doing 60-70 a day at our office,” he said. “A lot of people who are coming to me are saying, ‘I’m getting scared. Should I get the vaccine?’ They’re listening to my recommendation.”

Hunter said the conversation was posted online so residents could hear from a trusted medical professional. He said the idea came after he and his daughter met with Wallace two weeks earlier.

“I understand people are tired of hearing from politicians about vaccines and COVID-19,” he said. “Instead of encouraging them to get the vaccine, I encourage them to go speak to their doctor. If their doctor told them not to do it, I would not fault them for that.”

Hunter said he has not encountered any local doctors who are telling patients not to get the vaccine.

“They may be out there, but I haven’t encountered them,” he said.

Hunter said residents should not get discouraged when seeing some of the commentary on social media related to the myths and disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I don’t believe that a lot of what we see on social media is an accurate sample of this community,” he said. “The advice and counsel of our local doctors mean a heck of a lot more to me than any Google or at-home research I could do on my own.”

Talking about COVID-19 or the vaccines is the last thing Hunter said he wants to be doing. However, he said he cannot ignore the medical community’s pleas for him to help spread the message about the vaccines and their benefits.

“I would not be doing my job as mayor if I were to ignore the fact that our hospitals may become overrun in the coming weeks,” he said. “I speak almost daily with the leadership of major hospitals in Lake Charles, and they are very supportive of any effort to better advocate for vaccine usage.”