Vaccinations expanded to all Louisiana residents 16 and older

Staff Report

BATON ROUGE – All Louisianans 16 years old or older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 29, following news from the federal government that Louisiana’s allocation of vaccine doses will significantly increase this week.

Since the start of the vaccination process, Louisiana’s weekly allocations of vaccine from the federal government have more than doubled, with Louisiana 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.

The first day of open vaccinations coincided with an increase of new cases. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 840 new cases and 35 new deaths, but hospitalizations dropped to 362 and ventilator use dipped to 62.

In Region II, which covers the Greater Baton Rouge area, a total of 105,354 vaccination series – 15 percent of the region’s population – have been completed.

In Iberville, 4,421 vaccination series have been completed and 32,956 have been initiated.

More than one million Louisianans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. With the B.1.1.7., or U.K. variant, continuing to increase in Louisiana and neighboring states, it is essential to get Louisiana vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible.

Gov. John Bel Edwards

“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,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “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.

“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,” he said. “All three available vaccines are safe and effective for every community and they represent our best hope of being able to Bring Louisiana Back.”

Until March 29, vaccine eligibility was open to people in Louisiana age 65 and older, all health care workers, people ages 16 to 64 with certain health conditions and people 16 or older in certain essential jobs are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana.

Appointments are still 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,” Edwards said. “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,” he said. “Please know that there will be enough doses for everyone who wants a shot to get one eventually.”

Two weeks ago, the Louisiana Department of Health launched the Bring Back Louisiana grassroots campaign, which will bring COVID-19 vaccines to communities of concern through community events and targeted outreach.

WHERE TO GET THE VACCINES:

  • Noah’s Pharmacy, 947 East Main Street, Brusly.
  • Walmart Pharmacy, 3255 La. 1 South, Port Allen.
  • West Baton Rouge Parish Health Center, 685 Louisiana Avenue, Port Allen.