LDH and National Guard Administer Vaccines at Southern University

Local News

Baton Rouge, La. (BRPROUD)–Today, individuals who are 70 years old and older made their way to Southern University to receive their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) partnered with the Louisiana National Guard to increase the availability of the vaccine and to get those who are most vulnerable vaccinated.

This program, developed under the LDH, is designed to make the vaccine more accessible to those who qualify. (See bottom of article for information on those who qualify)

Baton Rouge resident and vaccine recipient Oletha Dees said, “I have been trying to find where I could go (for a vaccine), and I put in (applications) for it at different places, and Southern, said I could come and get it.”

Many individuals getting the vaccine said that they did a great job and that the process was quick and easy.

Baton Rouge resident and vaccine recipient Willie Mellion said, “It was so smooth; I mean everything was so timely. I registered for it last night online. Everything went through in minutes. And this morning, the flow is just beautiful.”

Individuals at the event also added how relieved they are to receive the vaccine.

Mellion said, “I am just so glad that I was able to come up here to get this vaccine for my husband and I. It took away a lot of stress and I appreciate it so much.”

Some may wonder how the LDH determines which locations to place pop up clinics..

LDH Communication Strategist Kevin Litten said, “We try always to select sites that help us reach communities that might have difficulty reaching a vaccine otherwise. So, this is certainly one of those sites, but as we move through the vaccination process, you’ll see us select additional sites that also are and in creating equitable access to the vaccine.”

The National Guard also took this challenge as an opportunity to serve their community.

Louisiana National Guard Captain Chase Branch said, ““I feel great. This is a challenge. This is a historical moment for the Louisiana National Guard and to help out the Louisiana Department of Health and administer vaccines to our public. This is a very exciting and welcomed challenge.”

At this moment, COVID-19 vaccines are still limited, but health officials encouraged those who are eligible to get vaccinated. 

The LDH also said that the next round of priority groups are selected based on availability, so as the number of vaccines increases, so will the number of people eligible to receive it. 

Phase 1A: Estimated population size: 249,000 

  • Hospital personnel 
  • Nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staff
  • Frontline responders to serve as vaccinators (EMS, law enforcement and fire personnel)

Phase 1B, Tier 1: Estimated population size: 640,000 

  • Persons ages 70 years or older
  • Health-related support personnel (labs, mortuary, pharmacy)
  • Outpatient clinic providers and clinic staff
  • Urgent care clinic providers and staff
  • Community care clinic providers and staff
  • Behavioral health clinic providers and staff
  • Dialysis patients and providers
  • Home care providers (including hospice workers) and home care recipients (including older and younger people with disabilities over the age of 16 who receive community or home-based care, as well as clients of home health agencies)
  • Dental providers and staff
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSPs) working in community and clinic-based settings, and clients who are both deaf and blind 
  • Students, residents, faculty, and staff of allied health schools (if not already receiving the vaccine or in a plan to receive from their respective schools)

More information about requirements can be found here.


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