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Local pharmacy reacts to low vaccination rates in Southwest Louisiana

Updated: Mar. 21, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Southwest Louisiana has the lowest percentage of administered vaccines in comparison to the rest of the state, raising concerns even in the Governor’s briefing.

“The one area I am concerned about, I’ll say is the Lake Charles area,” said Medical Director, for the Louisiana Department of Health, Dr. Joseph Kanter in the briefing Thursday. “People in Southwest Louisiana have had just a heck of a time this year, and it’s been incredibly challenging rebuilding from the storms and I know that COVID is probably not always first of mind and there’s a lot of fatigue.”

Jesse Vidrine, the owner of Boudreaux’s New Drug Store, agrees.

“The population just hasn’t rebounded post-hurricane Laura, especially for that older age group. When you look at the nursing homes in the area, etc. it’s taking time for them to get back.”

He says they administer 350 vaccines a day which is more than they expected initially.

“Actually, we did not think that the demand was going to be this high, so we were not getting that type of feedback from our customers once we decided ultimately that we were going to do this we were really kind of blown away.”

They are currently seeing a dip and have been reaching out to customers to help increase inoculation rates.

“If we could eliminate the fact that we have to make appointments, it would allow us to vaccinate more people quicker.”

They are doing walk-in vaccinations now, and with this largest barrier lifted for their store, they’re hopeful.

“We’re going to continue fighting that good fight to try to get our community where it needs to be.”

As of Thursday, Southwest Louisiana’s region, Region 5 only has vaccinated 8.24 percent of the population in comparison to the New Orleans region which has vaccinated 14.53 percent.

Percentages are updated by the Louisiana Department of Health on their website every Monday and Thursday at noon.

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