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Expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine causing long lines

Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the...
Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.(KSLA)
Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 2:47 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - More than 275,000 Louisiana restaurants became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning. Now, Louisiana residents between 65 and 70 can get a shot, too.

The state was able to offer the vaccine to more people because of an increase in the number of doses from the federal government

Those added to Louisiana Phase 1b, tier one include not only those who are at least 65, but also state and local COVID emergency response personnel.

That list also includes law enforcement, first responders and election workers for the upcoming March and April elections, and essential workers; a group that includes teachers are next up.

Many consider teachers essential frontline workers who face the threat of exposure to the virus every day they come to school, and were initially told their wait would be over by the end of January. They are still waiting.

The Red River United Teacher’s Union worries about some school staff employees beginning to run out of sick time soon.

And that, some fear, could lead to people being forced back on the job too soon and just getting others sick. That’s according to Jordan Thomas with the teachers union.

“That to me is a scary notion. because they want to be able to go to work and get paid.”

Much of the distribution to the public is still taking place at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds parking lot.

Dr. John Vanchiere explains why the age lowering to 65 is so important.

“When you look at the numbers of the case mortality rate. So, it’s the number of people who get infect, of those what proportion die? And the numbers start to go up dramatically. And so, this is consistent with about half the states across the country.”

Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the...
Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.(KSLA)
Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the...
Many people waited in long lines Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.(KSLA)

Dr. John Vanchiere adds that with at least half of the older population locally vaccinated, dropping the age requirement to 65 should not have too big of an impact on drive-thru wait times, which stood at about 30 minutes much of the day.

Turnout on Monday did exceed expectations with some arriving three hours early, before tents opened at 8 am.

We met others who arrived a few hours later, like Sarah Nickelson.

“I’m between 65 and 70. Very pleased that it was lowered to 65.”

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