Louisiana governor to get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

ATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards will receive his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine Tuesday, a day after he expanded access to the shots to include Louisiana government officials involved in pandemic response work.

The Democratic governor was scheduled to get his vaccination in the afternoon at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center campus in Baton Rouge, along with several other state officials who are newly able under Louisiana’s latest eligibility criteria.

Edwards, 54, had said he’s ready for the shot, telling reporters: “I’m pretty excited about being able to do that. I’m looking forward to it.”

While at Pennington, the governor is expected to announce the creation of a new mass vaccination site in Baton Rouge, involving the biomedical research center run by Louisiana State University and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Edwards widened Louisiana residents’ access to the coronavirus vaccine Monday, to lower the eligibility age from 70 to 65 and to newly include state and local officials handling COVID-19 response work, any remaining law enforcement not in previous priority groups and workers for the March 20 special congressional election.

With those additions, nearly 1.2 million of Louisiana’s 4.6 million residents are eligible for the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — though demand greatly exceeds the state’s available supply.

More than 404,000 people in Louisiana have received at least their first dose of the two-dose immunization so far, with about 131,000 people getting both doses, according to health department data.