Shots of hope: Hospital staffs get 1st vaccines

Published 1:36 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

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Hospital employees at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital and Riverside Medical Center were among the first in the state of Louisiana to receive COVID-19 vaccinations this week.

Dr. Garland Anderson, a member of the Our Lady of the Angels Physician Group, was the first employee at the Bogalusa hospital to receive the initial shot Thursday. Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots, within a 17-to-21 day window of each other.

“I’m very blessed to be first in line to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” Anderson said. “Everyone has been affected, and this vaccine represents the hope of returning to normal. I chose to take this vaccine to protect my patients, my family and my loved ones.

“The technology used to develop this vaccine has been around for decades, but this is the first time in history that we’ve achieved it on this scale.”

In addition to physicians and nurses, other hospital staff received the first shot in the vaccination process as well. Those employees included hospital CEO Rene Ragas.

Earlier this month, Gov. John Bel Edwards explained that Louisiana’s first two weekly shipments of the Pfizer vaccine would total around 79,000 doses. These first doses would 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 will be manufactured by Moderna. 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.