BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Around 39,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could be in Louisiana by this weekend, pending the emergency approval of the federal government, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards in a press conference today. A week later, another 40,000 doses will be also arriving, and the state’s healthcare workers and hospital staff could start getting vaccinated as early as Monday.
All of Louisiana’s vaccination plans, of course, hinge on whether or not the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants emergency approval to the Pfizer vaccine — which could happen as early as today. Once that happens, and the CDC also gives its approval, shipments could go out within hours, according to Edwards.
Another wave of vaccines, the one created by Moderna, could follow within a week of the first wave of vaccines, Edwards said. This vaccine, which doesn’t have the refrigeration requirements of Pfizer’s, will go toward the residents and staff of Louisiana’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. CVS and Walgreens are contracted to administer those vaccinations.
Unfortunately, a vaccine for the general population will not be available until the spring. Beyond the highest priority levels, the state has not yet drawn up plans for a statewide general vaccination plan.
The news comes as Louisiana’s COVID-19 positivity rate tops 10.7% — the highest rate seen since the second surge in July and August. While Edwards said the state’s plans may need to be adjusted as time goes on, he expressed his confidence in the safety and efffectiveness of the vaccines, both of which have a 95% efficacy rate.
Today’s announcement comes after Edwards spent the early part of the week in Washington as part of a vaccination summit at the White House. Edwards said Louisiana was invited due to the thoroughness of its vaccinations plans.
You can watch the full Dec. 10 press conference below: