State gets first vaccines
Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020
On Friday evening, Gov. John Bel Edwards released a statement about the federal Emergency Use Authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
“Today, the Federal Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the first of what we expect will be several vaccines against COVID-19, by Pfizer,” Edwards said. “In Louisiana, we have been preparing for this moment since the spring, and we are anticipating receiving our first shipment of this vaccine in short order.
“This is a historic and hopeful moment for our country and state, and we would be remiss if we did not pause to thank the scientists, doctors, health care workers and other researchers who have worked tirelessly not only to fight COVID and treat those who have become sick, but also who have put their considerable talent and training towards creating this vaccine. We are also deeply indebted to the tens of thousands Americans, including Louisianans, who selflessly volunteered to participate in the vaccine trials, which continue to this day, to make sure it is safe and effective for all of us.
“Truly, the last nine months have been a struggle for all of us, especially for the families of the 6,767 Louisianans who unfortunately have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Louisianans are a strong people and, though we are all tired from this pandemic, I am inspired by their sacrifice and selfless commitment to each other.
“Today is not the end of the pandemic, but it is the beginning of the end. And, as we await the day when a significant portion of Louisianans can receive the vaccine, which at this time is anticipated to be in spring 2021, we must continue to do what we know works: wearing our masks, keeping social distance, avoiding congregating with people outside of our households, staying home, getting tested when we have been exposed, and washing our hands regularly. May God bless you all.”
Louisiana’s first two weekly shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will total around 79,000 doses. These first doses will go to Louisiana’s frontline health care and emergency medical services workers, a group which totals between 125,000 and 135,000 people.
The second vaccine, by Moderna, is expected to get federal emergency use authorization sometime this week. When it is shipped, it will be used for staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities — between 75,000 and 80,000 Louisianans. Louisiana is planning to receive 80,000 doses of this vaccine in one shipment, followed by a second shipment of 27,000.
After these first groups of Louisianans are vaccinated, the vaccine will be made available to additional groups, based on a priority system developed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, in consultation with and following federal guidance. Through vaccination of a significant portion of the population, Louisiana will be able to achieve herd immunity to this virus.