Why La. is not implementing mass COVID-19 vaccinations yet

Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:59 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana will not set up mass vaccination sites until more vaccine is available, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday (Jan. 12).

Some states, like California and Texas, are vaccinating thousands of people at drive-thru clinics outside major event centers and stadiums. Those states are not receiving extra doses to accommodate these sites.

Instead, they are choosing to divert vaccine from pharmacies and hospitals to stand up mass vaccination stations.

“If you’re interested in equity and you want to have the largest possible reach across Louisiana, you do the 210 sites when you’re able to do them,” Edwards said, making reference to the 210 clinics and pharmacies currently administering vaccine in all 64 parishes.

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Louisiana will open mass vaccination sites eventually. It will need these locations to reach at-risk populations and minorities that are dying fastest from the virus.

In the meantime, the department of health is conducting a sort of test run. It’s given nine pharmacies about 1,000 doses each.

This is how the East Baton Rouge Council On Aging got shots for its vaccine drive this week.

RELATED: Gov. Edwards says La. will stay in modified Phase 2 until Feb. 10

It’s not clear when the state will begin to open mass vaccination sites, but it will use a model it tested with the flu shot in the fall. The state stood up mass drive-thru vaccination sites in eight health regions.

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