Governor John Bel Edwards says about 40,000 doses of a Coronavirus vaccine will be in Louisiana next week and another 40,000 the following week.
Edwards says Louisiana will follow the CDC’s guidelines on who will get the vaccine first.
The first vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Phizer will go before a federal advisory board for approval on December 10, while the Moderna vaccine would go before the board a week later.
Marrero native Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the two vaccines appear to be 90% effective and appear to be safe.
“These vaccines work across the age spectrum,” Giror said. “So, it’s not just the young, but they work in the elderly which is critically important because they’re our highest risk groups.”
During a news conference with Governor Edwards, Giror said he expects about 20 million Americans to be vaccinated within this calendar year or shortly there after.
“There’s been microplanning down to the nursing home, the hospital and how the distribution mechanisms go, but the governors ultimately have that responsibility,” Giror said.
Once the vaccine is ready to distribute to more people, Giror expects there to be a bit of controversy.
“There are good arguments for essential workers and first responders, but if your hospitals are almost full or overwhelemed, there will be a larger argument for immunizing the people who would be in the hospitals…so the non-nursing home resident elderly,” said Giror. “Those who have comorbid conditions like obesity, hypertension, diabetes.”
Across the state, many nursing homes are anticipating receiving the vaccination, including Lambeth House, where the state first identified a deadly cluster of COVID-19.
CEO Scott Crabtree said, “The importance of this announcement for senior citizens in Louisiana cannot be overstated.”
Crabtree went on to say, “We are pleased that the Governor and LDH have adopted the ACIP guidance, and view this as a positive step for retirement and long term care communities pending additional details to more fully understand the timelines for availability and administration. Through our continuous engagement with LDH and CDC, Lambeth House is fully prepared when the administration of vaccines is approved for implementation.”
The Governor and Grior stress the vaccines are safe and they plan to take it themselves. In the coming weeks, the Governor says expect to see a marketing campaign roll out to educate the community about the vaccine.