By David Jacobs | The Center Square
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) posted Monday a list of 107 pharmacies in 51 parishes where some of the state’s limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses are available by appointment only.
Louisiana residents who are at least 70 years old can begin scheduling appointments with the pharmacies to get vaccinated. Other groups now eligible for vaccinations include ambulatory and outpatient personnel, patients on dialysis, home health agency patients and personnel, and schools of allied health students, residents and staff, LDH said.
Hospital workers were first in line Dec. 14 after the federal government sent the state its first allocation of 39,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. Nursing home residents and staff began getting vaccinated the following week.
In setting its priorities for vaccine distribution, state officials mostly have followed federal guidelines. Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday he set the initial age cutoff at 70, rather than the federal recommendation of 74, because the former represented a “clear demarcation” among Louisiana residents for a higher risk of serious complications or death caused by COVID-19.
State officials can’t say how long it will take to vaccinate most members of the high priority groups, in part because they don’t know how many doses they will get during a given week until the previous week. Edwards said last week he expected the state to get about 28,275 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 27,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
The Pfizer vaccines have been going to hospitals that have the ability to store them at the cold temperatures necessary to keep them viable. Pharmacies will distribute most of the Moderna vaccines to long-term care facilities.
Vaccine demand from the new priority groups, consisting of more than 600,000 people, likely will exceed supply, at least during the early going. Heavy traffic caused technical problems for LDH’s website early Monday, but the list of pharmacies had been reposted by late morning.