Local health officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine availability, distribution

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Several companies are currently seeking emergency approval from the FDA in order to begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines across the country. For some places and people who choose to get the vaccine, it could be months before one is available.

“People have been talking about a vaccine, unfortunately, the vaccine is not going to be here in time to suppress the third wave,” Dr. Charles Burnell, an emergency medical specialist, said.

Health officials say we’re currently in the third wave and despite the vaccine’s expected arrival, now isn’t the time to stop masking up. Health officials are growing concerned as hospitals are quickly filling up.

Some of the first vaccines could be coming at the end of the month, however, only certain people will be able to get one. It could be until summer of 2021 before the general public is able to become vaccinated.

“We hope it’s going to start getting to front line health care workers at the end of this month- after that to institutionalized individuals like those in nursing homes. Then it’s really probably not going to get to the general public who aren’t at significantly high risk until the second quarter of 2021,” Dr. Henry Kaufman, with Our Lady of Lourdes, said.

Some of the vaccines would come in two doses per patient, meaning millions need to be made.
Until then, the warning from health officials: Act now and mask up before things get even worse. They are expecting another surge within the next two weeks caused by Thanksgiving.

“From a community standpoint- I see people relaxing their guard and I don’t know if they think it’s going to be a new Christmas present, but from a community standpoint, we’re looking at a second quarter- mid summer for a vaccine,” Dr. Burnell said.

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