NEW ORLEANS — As the sun shined down on the Abundant Life Tabernacle Church in New Orleans, faith leaders patiently waited to get their first dose of the covid-19 vaccine. The church’s pastor, Tyrone Jefferson, thrilled about the turnout.
“I am so honored! I’ve been saying for a long time I believe that faith leaders are front line workers, and I’m glad this time has come,” said Pastor Jefferson.
Local faith leaders are urging those in their congregations to get the shot as soon as they can.
“We want them to know that we believe it’s safe, and we want them to get vaccinated. We want you to get vaccinated so we can get back to doing things the way we used to, and we can get you back into your faith based houses of worship.” said Pastor Brandon Boutin with United Fellowship Church.
Many folks in the greater New Orleans area are hitting some speed bumps as they try to get their first shot. However, Dr. Chris Lege, Chief Medical Officer for Touro Infirmary, says vaccine availability should open up in the next few weeks.
“Supplies are increasing. The state did an increased allocation this week compared to last week and are giving word that those allocations are going to increase as time goes on,” said Dr. Lege.
Dr. Lege adds that a lot of clinics are not making appointment far out because they want to guarantee supply.
“I know there is a bit of a bottleneck right now and people are frustrated. I know that in our system and others, waitlists that are being kept, are being worked. If you’re on a waiting list, they will get to you.”
Dr. Lege says if you’re having trouble scheduling online or by phone, to keep trying. It may be frustrating, but it will be worth it.
“Realize that patience pays off, that eventually we will get to everyone. Vaccine supply looks encouraging as we get into march, so I think there are good things to look forward to,” said Dr. Lege.
You can schedule your appointment to get your covid vaccine through the Louisiana Department of Health’s website. Dr. Lege says the waitlist is typically two to four weeks long.
There are some local pharmacies that are also offering the covid vaccine, including a drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Walmart located at 6000 Bullard Avenue in New Orleans. The vaccines will be available to those who meet the current criteria of eligibility. You can schedule your first appointment through Walmart’s website. Insurance is not required and the vaccine is free.
There are also seven CVS pharmacies across the state that are rolling out the vaccine, including in Jefferson, Orleans and Tangipahoa parishes. You can learn more about the locations and how to schedule your first dose on the CVS website.