St. Bernard Parish ramping up efforts to get more folks vaccinated

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ARABI, La.– The Louisiana Department of Health recently reported that vaccinations are down in St. Bernard Parish.

“We are at about 14 percent of people who have finished their shots, and at about 20 percent initial does,” John Rahaim, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said.

St. Bernard Parish leaders recognize that the number of folks getting vaccines in their parish is lower than other parishes and they are concerned.

“We had an issue in the beginning. We weren’t getting doses that we were requesting,” he said.

Parish leaders contacted the Louisiana Department of Health and got more vaccines, but now the issue is having people available to receive them.

“We are starting to see waning in interest with people getting vaccines and we can’t figure out why. Vaccines are a good thing,” he said.

One local resident, Cassandra Upton sees the value in vaccines.

“If we get people vaccinated, we won’t have to wear masks as much, when the mask mandate is lifted. There won’t be as much fear,” she said.

But she understands why some are still skeptical.

“It is a hard topic because I sympathize with people because it hasn’t been researched as much as it usually is. I believe in vaccines, just like for the many other viruses we’ve encountered over the years,” she said.

They are really trying to ramp up efforts here to get more folks vaccinated. At St. Bernard Parish Hospital for the next two days they are having drive-thru vaccinations, and the easiest part is no appointments are necessary.

“We are trying to get the word out to the public and we are trying to make it easier for you,” Rahaim said.

Tonight from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. they will be giving out Pfizer vaccines, and then tomorrow from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. they will be administering Moderna vaccines at St. Bernard Parish Hospital.

Leaders say that next week they are planning a Johnson & Johnson vaccination event for the people living in lower St. Bernard.

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