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Thousands of La. healthcare workers already vaccinated; elderly, high-risk could be next priority

1 month 1 week 1 day ago Thursday, December 17 2020 Dec 17, 2020 December 17, 2020 8:47 PM December 17, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Four days into Louisiana's COVID-19 vaccine distribution, thousands of front line healthcare workers have already received shots. And that number continues to grow.

"A minimum of 7,000 vaccinations thus far of healthcare workers has been documented," Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "I believe the number of vaccinations greatly exceeds that number."

Oschner, Baton Rouge General, and Our Lady of the Lake are three of the 71 hospitals to receive doses this week. Edwards says all 39,000 doses anticipated in Pfizer's first shipment have arrived.

However, it's hard to know how many doses Louisiana will get in each shipment from here on out. Previously, Edwards has said he expects roughly 40,000 more Pfizer doses next week. Though that amount and the number of doses in subsequent shipments won't be concrete though until Louisiana hears from the federal government.

"Going forward, on Fridays, we will be given our allocation for the next week of each vaccine by type," Edwards said. "Then, we will put in our orders as to how much vaccine goes to which sites over that next week."

Doses aren't the only part of the vaccination process that is still to be determined. Who is in line behind front line healthcare workers as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities remains a work in progress.

"We are obviously receiving requests from all sorts of groups of individuals out there, of workers and so forth, that those workers be considered high priority," Edwards said. "And many of them will be."

Just this week, the state superintendent of education advocated for teachers and school staffs to be next in line.

Edwards is waiting on federal guidelines to determine the next groups eligible for the vaccine. At Thursday's virus news conference, he hinted at who could be included.

"I strongly suspect it will include those... Who are advanced in age and have comorbid health conditions," Edwards said.

Edwards added he thinks some occupations, among the many jockeying for priority, may be included as well.

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