Over 800,000 total vaccine doses have been administrated by Louisiana and now Governor John Bel Edwards announced vaccination eligibility will expand to new groups of people starting February 22nd.
The new group includes Louisianans – K-12 teachers, school support staff, daycare staff, those who are pregnant, and Louisianans aged 55 to 64 with certain health conditions who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This group represents around 475,000 Louisianans and will bring the total population eligible in Louisiana to nearly 1.65 million people. Louisiana is currently vaccinating people in Priority Group 1B-Tier One.
Many educators responded to the new access of vaccines, including Julia Reed who has taught in the Lafayette School System for almost a decade.
"I plan on getting mine. I will be able to protect my students but also my family at home," Reed said.
Reed adds that many other teachers are optimistic about getting the vaccine.
"A lot of teachers that say they will get it, there are some that have said they don't feel comfortable yet because it hasn't been out, there not sure of the long-term effects” Reed Said. “with all the extra cleaning trying to reach students at home while reaching students in the class, ya know that has been a really hard one ..”
Doctor Lawrence Simon, Interim Senior Medical Director, Health Services with a blue shield of Lousiana encourages the community to continue to follow safety protocols until 80% of the population is vaccinated.
"Getting schools open is going to be really important for getting society back on again and getting teachers vaccinated" Simone Said.
The Louisiana Dept. of Health has published the list of participating providers on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov. In addition, residents can call 211 to find a vaccine provider near them.
Eligible residents must contact a participating provider to make an appointment. Patients who arrive without an appointment will not be vaccinated. LDH cannot make appointments for patients; only providers can.
Patients should receive their second dose of the COVID vaccine at the same location where they received their first dose. Second-dose appointments should be made during the administration of the first dose.
There are some expected delays associated with vaccine delivery this week because of extreme winter weather. Some providers may have to reschedule vaccine appointments for both first and second doses. The CDC guidance states that the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval, which is 21 or 28 days between doses, as possible, but the shot will still be effective if there is a delay in getting the second dose. There is no need for people to restart the vaccination series if the second dose must be delayed because of weather, but people should contact their providers to reschedule.
The following Priority Groups in Louisiana are below :
Within priority groups and tiers there is no particular sequencing. Participating providers must make the available vaccine available to anyone who is eligible. Failure to do so will inform future decisions about distribution.
Priority Group 1-A: Ongoing (around 249,000 eligible people)
Health care workers at Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals
Staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
First responders to serve as vaccinators (Emergency Medical Services, fire personnel, law enforcement)
Priority Group 1-B, Tier One: As of Monday, February 22, 2021 (around 1,391,000 eligible people)
Dialysis providers and patients
Ambulatory and outpatient providers and staff
Behavioral health providers and staff
Urgent care clinic providers and staff
Community care providers and staff
Dental providers and staff
Nonemergency Medical Transportation staff
Professional home care providers (including hospice workers) and home care recipients (including older and younger people with disabilities over the age of 16 who receive community or home-based care, as well as clients of home health agencies)
American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSPs) working in the community and clinic-based settings, and clients who are both deaf and blind
Health-related support personnel (lab staff, mortuary staff who have contact with corpses, pharmacy staff)
Schools of allied health students, residents, and staff
Law enforcement and other first responders
Persons 65 years old and older
Louisiana Unified Command Group
State and local essential COVID emergency response personnel
Some elections staff ahead of March and April elections
Teachers and any other support staff working onsite in K-12 or daycare
Individuals aged 55-64 with at least one of the conditions listed by the CDC as placing them at an “increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.” The CDC list of conditions can be found here.
Chronic kidney disease
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30kg/m2 or higher but < 40kg/m2)
Severe obesity (BMIC >40kg/m2)
Sickle Cell Disease
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
All pregnant persons, regardless of age.