State to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine to teachers, pregnant women, others on Feb. 22

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state will expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to new groups of people starting Feb. 22, making 1.6 million Louisianans eligible for the shots.

The new groups of people eligible include the following:

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley released the following statement in support of the Governor’s decision:

“I’m grateful and relieved to know our early childhood workers, as well as K-12 educators and school staff, now have access to this vaccine. This signifies the value of our essential employees and will enable even more Louisiana centers and schools to be fully open to serve students, families and communities. I extend my thanks to Governor Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health and our state’s medical professionals for working alongside us throughout this pandemic and for making our educational community a priority. Although not perfect, Louisiana has managed to maintain an early childcare system and a k-12 educational program throughout this pandemic.”

Dr. Brumley said he first requested priority vaccine access for educators and staff in a December 12, 2020 letter to LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips, copied to Governor Edwards. This request drew national attention being one of the first official requests of its kind as it included priority access not just for K-12 teachers and staff but for early childcare center workers as well.

This letter was followed by similar requests from advocates across the state. According to the latest data available on the Department’s School Reopening Dashboard, 67 percent of students are participating in fully in-person instruction, 20 percent are fully virtual and around 13 percent are in a hybrid setting.

The Louisiana Dept. of Health has published the list of participating providers on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov. In addition, residents can call 211 to find a vaccine provider near them.

Eligible residents must contact a participating provider to make an appointment. Patients who arrive without an appointment will not be vaccinated. LDH cannot make appointments for patients; only providers can.

Patients should receive their second dose of the COVID vaccine at the same location where they received their first dose. Second-dose appointments should be made during the administration of the first dose.

There are some expected delays associated with vaccine delivery this week because of extreme winter weather. Some providers may have to reschedule vaccine appointments for both first and second doses. The CDC guidance states that the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval, which is 21 or 28 days between doses, as possible, but the shot will still be effective if there is a delay in getting the second dose. There is no need for people to restart the vaccination series if the second dose must be delayed because of weather, but people should contact their providers to reschedule.

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