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Louisiana's expanding vaccination efforts kick off amid challenges

4 months 2 days 20 hours ago Tuesday, January 05 2021 Jan 5, 2021 January 05, 2021 7:56 AM January 05, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The administration of the first dose of Moderna's COVID vaccine to Louisiana residents who are 70 years of age and older is off to a rather chaotic start; that said, it's a start most locals welcome.

For example, as residents of Ollie Steel Burden Manor Nursing Home Facility received their first doses of the protective vaccine on Monday, many were quite vocal in expressing gratitude to medical personnel. 

One resident who'd received the inoculation emphatically told WBRZ reporters, "I wanted it (the vaccine). I want to make sure I don't get the virus."

Heather Bauder, Director of Senior Services at Ollie Steele, likewise, told WBRZ, "I've never seen such a quick turnaround time to turn in the vaccination consent forms since just now, so it's been great." 

Eagerness on the part of the residents is likely due to the fact that shortly after receiving their second dose of the vaccine on February 1, they'll eventually be able to spend more time with their families. 

But as the widespread administration of the inoculation began on Monday, hopefulness clashed with an administration effort that some feel lacked organization. 

Pharmacies across Louisiana were barraged with phone calls from citizens, requesting appointments for their vaccinations.

And the appointments have been scheduled, but pharmacy officials say their requests for vaccination appointments far exceed the amount of doses that are actually available at this time.

John Dry of Dry's Pharmacy in Zachary told WBRZ, "There is such a demand for this like nothing I have ever seen."

"The only thing that will make this better," Dry explained, "is if they release this medicine to all the pharmacies that can give immunizations and all the doctor's offices and the hospitals." 

While the demand for the vaccine is great, it's clear that the process for meeting this demand has yet to be appropriately organized. 

This is a situation Governor John Bel Edwards warned citizens to expect during a Friday (Dec. 31) news conference. The Governor explained that it's going to take time and patience to endure this 'trial and error' aspect of the process.

As vaccination efforts continue throughout the week, health experts and pharmacy officials alike will analyze their process and amend it so as to find the best way to get the potentially lifesaving shots to Louisiana residents. 

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