Healthcare leaders in Acadiana discussing large-scale, community-wide vaccinations

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Healthcare leaders in Acadiana are talking about large-scale, community-wide vaccinations. The Feds are telling states to vaccinate more people, faster.

The Department of Health and Human Services released new guidance to states for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. More vaccine doses will be released. Second doses will not be held back.

“Every vaccine dose sitting in a warehouse, rather than going into an arm, could mean one more life lost, or one more hospital bed occupied,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar

States are now urged to give the vaccine to the most vulnerable: people age 65 and up, and anyone with a pre-existing condition.

“We’re still taking a good close look at that,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “It’s going to be some time before we announce any changes, if at all, to our approach, with respect to the priority groups

Health care workers and residents and staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been top priority so far. There’s been widespread criticism that the roll out of “Operation Warp Speed” has been too slow.
only about one-third of the 30-million doses shipped to state have been administered.

Here in Louisiana, nearly 160,000 people have received the vaccine. Nearly 22,000 of them have received the second dose, and are now fully vaccinated.

Despite the new vaccine guidance from DHHS, Acadiana’s largest health care provider, Ochsner, says no changes will be made to its vaccination plan at this time. However, they are preparing to vaccinate more people.

Ochsner says there are discussions underway to join forces with the Office of Public Health and other local healthcare leaders to offer a larger site for vaccinations.

“We are having these conversations with OPH now, and we would welcome the collaboration to do this on a community-wide scale if the vaccine inventory was available, accounted for, and secured,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Logue.

Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center started vaccinations for people age 70+ last week,
but to get the shot from Ochsner you must be a patient. Ochsner now says it plans to drop that requirement.

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