Louisiana to largely follow federal recommendations for vaccine priority
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana has received about 145,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and expects to get more than 63,500 next week. Governor John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that details about who will be in the next high-priority group have not been finalized.
"Our priorities will not look markedly different from what the ACIP is recommending," he said, without detailing potential differences from guidance provided Sunday by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. "We're just not there yet."
The highest priority groups -- front-line health care workers and long-term care facilities' residents and staffs -- started getting their shots last week.
The CDC recommended that the next phase of vaccine eligibility include people 75 and older and front-line essential workers, including emergency first responders, educators and grocery store employees.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, of the state health department, said federal authorities have told his office to expect 36,075 doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 27,500 doses of Moderna's in next week's shipment.
Edwards said his office has been inundated with requests by groups pressing for high-priority access.
"These are obviously not easy decisions," the governor said. "It is easy to see where as many as a quarter of our state's population could fall into a certain priority group, and you just can't administer the vaccine to that number of people quickly."
At Edwards' weekly virus briefing, Kanter said those on dialysis with compromised immune systems will be high on the state's priority list. LDH will also look to the CDC for guidance on which high-risk conditions warrant vaccine sooner.
Ultimately, who will be given priority will depend on how many doses the state receives moving forward, and at what rate.
"That's the real x-factor is, how much vaccine we get," Kanter said. "I'll tell you, we will use, and quickly, every dose of vaccine we get in Louisiana."