On Wednesday, March 24, Governor John Bel Edwards announced an expansion of Coronavirus vaccination eligibility to more residents.
Edwards says that Louisiana will see increasing allocations of vaccine doses going forward starting next week.
Louisiana is now slated to get more than 148,000 first doses directly next week, in addition to vaccine doses provided to partner pharmacies in a federal pharmacy program as well as the Federally Qualified Health Care Center program. More than one million Louisianans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
With those new allocations, the governor says that starting Monday March 29 vaccine eligibility will open to everyone 16 and older in the state regardless of health conditions.
“Based on the doses that we will have available in the coming week, now is absolutely the time to expand vaccine eligibility as broadly as we possibly can, which is to everyone age 16 or older in Louisiana. This is an exciting development, but the hard work of making sure our family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors all have access to the vaccine will continue for months,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our goal has been to get vaccine doses we receive into someone’s arm within seven days of the doses arriving, because a shot sitting on a shelf doesn’t help us end this pandemic. All three available vaccines are safe and effective for every community and they represent our best hope of being able to Bring Louisiana Back.”
Starting Monday, March 29, ALL Louisianans 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID vaccine. Visit https://t.co/nPaxdKaOXy for more information.
Don’t miss your shot, Louisiana. #lagov pic.twitter.com/XmWwupFc8K
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) March 24, 2021
Appointments will still be required and providers may need time to update their scheduling systems, which means that people may have to wait a few days to schedule their appointments for next week.
There are three authorized COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States: two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and a one-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson. People ages 16 and 17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and they should consult their primary care doctor or vaccine provider to ensure the proper vaccine is administered.
“I am deeply grateful for Louisiana’s health care workers and vaccine providers who have worked tirelessly not only to treat sick patients, but now to vaccinate our people. This has been an absolutely unprecedented effort and Louisiana’s nurses, doctors and other health care workers have risen to the occasion each and every time they’ve been called upon. I hope people will be patient over the next few days as providers begin accepting appointments. Please know that there will be enough doses for everyone who wants a shot to get one eventually,” Gov. Edwards said.
Edwards spoke about his concerns over Region 5 in Louisiana. In that region, percent positivity has continued to increase for the past 5 weeks, Dr. Kanter with LDH said. That area includes Lake Charles
Kanter asked those residents to be vigilant, mask up and remain socially distant. He also urged residents in that area to get the vaccine.
“Variants continue to grow in Louisiana,”
164 confirmed UK variant in the state. 96 of those cases are in Region 5.
No African or Brazilian coronavirus variants have been reported in Louisiana. With the B.1.1.7., or U.K. variant, continuing to increase in Louisiana and neighboring states, Edwards and Kanter say it is essential to get Louisiana vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible.
Next week, the first nine pilot sites for the state’s Bring Back Louisiana Campaign will begin. The effort will cover urban and farm areas of the state. Canvassing and phone calls will happen to connect people with vaccines that need it most.
Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health launched the campaign. To sign up to volunteer for this effort, click here.
The 70582 zip code in St. Martin Parish was announced as a target location.
Dr. Kanter gave an update on what people who are fully vaccinated can expect. He says that those who are fully vaccinated can visit with other vaccinated people in close proximity without masks and distancing.
Those fully vaccinated people can also refrain from quarantining if they are exposed to COVID-19.
In public spaces, masking and social distancing is still necessary as transmission of the virus continues to happen.
On Monday Kanter says go get vaccinated. If you have already done that, your job is not done. “Be an ambassador to friends and family, that is how we are going to achieve herd immunity.”
Edwards said that Louisianans have a role to play
“I envision there will be many steps on our way back to normal,” Edwards said.
For information about where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana and for more information, visit COVIDVaccine.la.gov. [gov.louisiana.gov]
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