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Pharmacies received 1st supply of COVID vaccine on Monday

On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to pharmacies statewide in limited supply beginning Monday, Jan. 4, to be administered to people 70 and older and additional health care workers.

The initial supply of Moderna-produced vaccine was extremely limited and citizens were required to contact a designated pharmacy to make appointments before going in to be vaccinated. At this time, only people in Priority Group 1-B, Tier One, which is people 70 years and older and ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel, are able to get the COVID vaccine at a designated pharmacy.

Beginning Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health began listing pharmacies where the COVID vaccine is available on its website, covidvaccine.la.gov. According to the website, the only Washington Parish pharmacy that received an initial supply of the vaccine was Creel’s Family Pharmacy, located at 26496 Louisiana Highway 62 in Franklinton.

At 8:15 p.m. Monday, the business posted an update on its Facebook page:

“We only received 100 vaccinations. We had 3 people constantly answering phones all day long (Monday). I am sorry everyone did not get their call in. Unfortunately, the list filled up within an hour and we have over 300 on a waiting list.”

The pharmacy said it cannot add to the current waiting list, and was not sure when another shipment of the vaccine will arrive.

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

Several Walgreens locations received initial doses, but none of those locations were in Washington Parish.

“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,” Edwards said Thursday. “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.”

In the first two weeks of vaccination, 45,289 Louisianans received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A second dose must be administered for people to gain fuller protection.

As of Thursday, 210,350 doses had been allocated for Louisiana, of which 56,200 were designated for the federal Long Term Care Facilities partnership and reside with Walgreens and CVS. Vaccinations for residents and staff of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, just started last week.

Priority groups for Louisiana

Within priority groups and tiers there is no particular sequencing.

Priority Group 1-A: Ongoing (around 249,000 eligible people)

  • Health care workers at Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals.
  • Staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Emergency Medical Services employees and firefighters.

Priority Group 1-B, Tier One: Started Monday, Jan. 4 (around 640,000 eligible people)

  • Schools of allied health students, residents and staff.
  • End stage renal disease facility personnel and patients.
  • Home agency patients and personnel.
  • Ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel.
  • Persons 70 years old and older.

Priority Group 1-B, Tier Two: Starts at a later date (around 318,750 eligible people)

  • Health-related support personnel (labs, mortuary, pharmacy).
  • Essential governmental response personnel.
  • Judiciary personnel.
  • Department of Homeland Security personnel, National Guard (non-COVID deployed), federal intelligence and security personnel, military personnel.
  • First responders not covered in Phase 1A.
  • Corrections officers and jailers.
  • Medical transportation services.
  • Homeless shelter and other congregate group home/center staff.
  • K-12 school and daycare personnel.
  • Food processing and agricultural workers.
  • Postal personnel.
  • Public transit workers.
  • Grocery store workers and other deemed frontline essential workers.