Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Gov. Edwards: Next phase of La's vaccination distribution will begin Jan. 4

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BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards announced Thursday (Dec. 31) that the next juncture in the distribution of Moderna's COVID vaccination will begin Monday, Jan. 4.

On that date, individuals who are 70 years of age and older as well as ambulatory and outpatient healthcare workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine. 

To be specific, those eligible for these Phase 1B Tier 1 doses on Jan. 4 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

The governor stressed that initially, the doses available will be limited in supply.

This means not every person aged 70 and older in the state of Louisiana can be vaccinated next week. Instead, the process will take time and the governor encouraged citizens to be patient.

During his live news conference, Edwards said, "We can confirm that we will receive a sufficient supply of the Moderna vaccine next week... to get started to test our system and work out the kinks, and over time we expect the number of doses will increase dramatically." 

He explained that as there are about 485,000 citizens in the state who are 70 years of age and older, to keep the massive distribution efforts organized and efficient, these patients must make appointments with their local pharmacy to be vaccinated.

The Governor stressed that no one can be vaccinated without first, setting an appointment.

To assist residents in locating a pharmacy where they can receive a vaccination, the Louisiana Department of Health will list participating pharmacies  on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov.

In the initial Phase 1B roll out, LDH anticipates that approximately 100 pharmacies in 52 parishes will receive around 10,500 doses total in the first week. Each eligible pharmacy will receive approximately 100 doses.

“I am relieved to end this year by expanding access to the COVID vaccine to more Louisianans, though I know we have a long road ahead of us before we put this pandemic in our rear view mirrors,” Gov. Edwards said. “I hope all Louisianans will consider taking this safe and effective vaccine when it is their turn to get it, because that is how we will ultimately reach herd immunity and get our lives back to some form of normalcy. Already we have lost more than 7,400 people in our state to this terrible virus, and new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. This vaccine is a new weapon we have in the fight against COVID, but to be effective people must take it. In addition, we have outlined how we will proceed with the next tier of people in line, so that people may plan for the future.”

The Governor also pointed out that even with the increased distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic is not over yet. 

He urged citizens to continue wearing masks saying, "Yesterday we sadly reported 51 additional deaths... perhaps of most concern to me, hospitalizations are also rising at an alarming rate."

The Governor, likewise, mentioned that the testing efforts have never been as robust as they are now. 

He added, "None of those numbers are going in the right direction... this is a very, very serious time." 

Governor Edwards next urged citizens to avoid New Years Eve gatherings and celebrations.

"I'm asking people as we end this year and start a new one that we be mindful of our behavior," Edwards said. "If we will do that and get vaccinated as soon as we possibly can, then we can ensure that 2021 will be the best year that it can possibly be."  

Edwards concluded by saying he is realistic yet hopeful that conditions in Louisiana will improve as 2021 begins. 

When asked by a reporter if tighter statewide reopening restrictions would need to be implemented, Governor Edwards replied that at this point, no additional restrictions will be mandated.

However, Edwards added, "If it becomes necessary to impose more restrictions.... then we're going to do that. We're not at that point now. It is easy to see that if we stay on the current trajectory, we will get there." 

Currently, Louisiana remains under Revised Phase Two Restrictions, which are detailed below. 

Revised Phase 2 restrictions

- Sports events limited to 25% capacity
- Restaurants, gyms, casinos, non-essential retail limited to 50% capacity
- Churches and places of worship limited to 75% capacity
- Bars can allow up to 25% capacity indoors in parishes with a positivity rate below 5%. Parishes with positivity rates higher than 5% can allow only outdoor seating at bars, up to 50 people.
- Event centers limited to 25% (up to 75 people at indoor venues and up to 150 at outdoor venues where social distancing is not possible)
- Mask mandate remains in place
- Employers suggested to maximize remote work when possible
- Families asked to engage in "safe" activities, do not gather with people from outside households

Click HERE for the latest on novel coronavirus statistics in Louisiana. 


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