Details on distribution of COVID-19 vaccination to La's 'Phase 1B Tier 1' recipients
BATON ROUGE - As 2021 begins, the health crisis that's held the United States in an increasingly restrictive grip for the past eleven months approaches a critical junction with the release of two lifesaving COVID vaccinations.
Like other states across the nation, Louisiana is moving swiftly to obtain and distribute doses of COVID-fighting vaccinations provided by pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer.
That said, the vaccinations are not being distributed to every member of the population at once, but in phases and tiers. The first group to receive the vaccinations, labeled as 'Phase 1A,' included frontline medical personnel employees and longterm care facility residents and staff.
But as the door to 2021 opens, so does vaccination eligibility in the state of Louisiana.
At Governor John Bel Edwards' order, Monday, Jan. 4 marks the first day that inoculation efforts will expand to include individuals who are 70 years of age and older as well as ambulatory and outpatient healthcare workers.
These individuals make up the second group of vaccine recipients, known as 'Phase 1B Tier 1.' They include:
-Schools of allied health students / residents / staff
-End-stage renal disease facility personnel / clients
-Home agency patients and personnel
-Ambulatory / outpatient / medical / dental / behavioral health clinic personnel
-Persons 70-years-old and older
Initially, available doses of the vaccination will be quite limited. This means not everyone among the over 485,000 citizens who need the vaccine and are qualified to receive it will be able to do so during the week of Jan. 4.
However, individuals who qualify as Phase 1B Tier 1 vaccine recipients and can't receive their inoculations during the first week of January do not need to wait passively.
Instead, they can contact a local pharmacy and make an appointment to be vaccinated. This is critical, as only patients who make appointments will be vaccinated; no walk-in's will be available at this time, state health officials say.
To assist residents in locating a pharmacy where they can receive a vaccination, the Louisiana Department of Health has listed participating pharmacies on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov.
By the end of 2020, the state had already administered 45,289 doses of the vaccine and not even one person reported an adverse reaction.
A specific date for the start of the next phase of vaccinations, these individuals labeled as 'Phase 1B, Tier 2' recipients, has yet to be announced.
And, the Governor acknowledged that while the process, as a whole, will not be carried out perfectly, he remains optimistic as to its success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on Louisiana.
"So, this is a process, it's going to play out. We're going to do it the best we can," Edwards said during a Thursday (Dec. 31) news conference. "I can assure you we're going to make mistakes but we're going to learn from them and do things better."
The vaccine is likely to become more widely available for the general population in late spring/summer 2021.
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