NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — State health officials are celebrating newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates Louisiana leads every other state at administering second doses of the coronavirus vaccine within the recommended timeframe.
The second shot of Pfizer should be given 21 days after the first dose. It is 28 days for Moderna.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said the statistic is a result of a deliberate and organized vaccine rollout.
“We were happy to see Louisiana ranked first among all 50 states,” said Kanter.
Last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced expanded eligibility for the vaccine, which now includes anyone 16 and older with certain high-risk health conditions.
Still, vaccine supply continues to be an issue.
LCMC Health operates a mass vaccination site at the convention center in New Orleans.
According to Ayame Dinkler, the Chief Administrative Officer for LCMC, the facility has the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 people a day. But because of supply, the site can only vaccinate 1,000 people, three days a week.
“We certainly have a lot more capacity,” said Dinkler.
Dr. Kanter said the state hopes to secure more vaccine doses from the federal government in the coming weeks.
“It’s frustrating because I want to be moving those 3,000 doses,” said Kanter. “Once we get increased doses, and I think we will in a couple weeks time, then we will have the capability here to move vaccine quickly.”
Meantime, the city of New Orleans is trying to ensure that people who are eligible to get the vaccine have easy access to transportation.
On Tuesday, city leaders announced a new partnership with Uber, guaranteeing 20,000 free or reduced rides to people in need.
“When you call 311, the call taker will ask if you need any special accommodations. If you do have a transportation need, just note to the call taker that you do need a ride,” said Tyrell Morris, with the Orleans Parish Communications District. “The call taker will give you those instructions on how to use a specific code in the Uber application to get your free ride.”
Morris said you must initiate the ride in Orleans Parish.
“We ask that if you have the ability to get to a vaccination site on your own that you save this most valuable asset for our people in our community that need it the most,” said Morris.