By David Jacobs
(The Center Square) – More than 370 providers spread across all 64 parishes will receive some of the state’s limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses this week for distribution, the Louisiana Department of Health said Monday.
Louisiana residents age 65 to 69 are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for the first time this week. Age 70 had been the previous cutoff.
Other groups eligible this week include dialysis providers and patients; health care and dental clinic workers; home care providers and recipients; sign language interpreters and clients who are deaf and blind; lab, mortuary and pharmacy staff; allied health school students, residents and staff; some election workers and emergency response personnel; and the state’s Unified Command Group, which includes the governor.
Providers include 112 chain pharmacies, 127 independent pharmacies, 52 hospitals, 15 community health centers, six rural health clinics, 28 public health providers and 38 other health care sites, the health department said.
As of Thursday, when the most-recent count was made public, almost 535,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Louisiana, according to state officials. Almost 131,000 people had received their second dose, which is needed to get the full benefit.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday he expects providers across the state to administer 86,550 first doses this week, including 10,000 that have been diverted from the federally managed nursing home program because they weren’t going to be used immediately.
While the number of doses made available to state government for distribution is expected to remain flat for the next few weeks, Edwards expects Louisiana to get about 14,000 additional doses per week through a new federal program that will send vaccine doses directly to pharmacies.