Who’s next for the coronavirus vaccine?

COVID Vaccine going to phased groups

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Eleven hospitals across Southwest Louisiana will be receiving the Pfizer vaccines, but who’s next depends on many factors.

Regional Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh says that right now, only certain medical professionals are getting the first round of the vaccines, as outlined by the Louisiana Department of Health,

“It will go straight to hospitals. They are considered the priority group, specifically for their staff that work in COVID wings, wards, emergency rooms, sort of our frontline workers at the hospital.”

Though she says, there are many factors that are still unknown.

“Now when those priority groups are going to receive vaccines depends on how many products are approved and how many doses the manufacturer sends us, so right now we have the Pfizer product that is approved and that is going to our hospitals.”

Outlined in the “Vaccine Playbook,” on the Louisiana Department of Health’s website are several phases, from how each group will receive the vaccine, to what happens if there aren’t enough doses.

“We in Louisiana have followed along with that National Advisory Committee’s recommendations, so our plans are sort of our best guess for what will be listed as the next priority group,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “But we also are waiting for confirmation of that, from this group that will then expand their recommendations as doses become more available.”

The Pfizer vaccine isn’t the only vaccine that may become available. Moderna has a similar vaccine that will be going through FDA emergency approval later this week.

“The Moderna product may be a little bit easier to get out into settings that don’t have that ultra-cold storage because it only requires a regular freezer,” explains Dr. Cavanaugh. “So there are differences. There are potential other products down the road too that can also potentially come into play.”

Dr. Cavanaugh predicts the general public that does not fall into the priority groups will receive the vaccine in late spring or summer 2021.

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.