GOHSEP, LDH host virtual town hall on coronavirus vaccine

A shipment of the Pfizer-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton...
A shipment of the Pfizer-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, La. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.(Source: Our Lady of the Lake)
Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) held a virtual town hall to educate citizens who are concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The virtual town hall was held just hours before Gov. John Bel Edwards was scheduled to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: 378 vaccine providers in all 64 parishes will receive COVID-19 vaccine this week

Featured speakers included Interim Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Office of Public Health Dr. Joseph Kanter and Ginger Hunt, a nurse practitioner specialist who has founded a nonprofit network of 11 federally qualified health centers across five parishes.

Dr. Kanter provided up to date information about the vaccines and who is eligible to receive them while Hunt spoke about access to healthcare in rural communities.

For those who were unable to attend the virtual town hall, a replay of the presentation will be available by clicking here.

The Louisiana Department of Health answered some questions today like just how long will the COVID-19 vaccine protect everyone, well it may be too soon to tell. Almost 10% of Louisiana’s population has gotten their vaccines, so far the results seem promising, no major outbreaks, and it’s doing it’s job of protecting people. However, LDH says that protection really kicks in after one receives their second dose.

“For the Pzifer and Moderna, you build up protection slowly after your first dose and get around 80%-75% roughly give or take before you get your second dose. Your second dose does two things, it cements your protection so it brings up it up to a 95%, and then it gives your durability that lasts longer,” says Dr. Joseph Kanter from LDH.

Now, just how long will that durability last? Dr. Kanter says the state is still in the early stages of actually knowing if the COVID vaccine will have to be given seasonally like the flu shot or it if will require a booster.

“We don’t know and the reason we don’t know is because there just hasn’t been enough time. There are some vaccines that you need boosters for, there are some that you don’t, and the only way to really know is to have the experience looking at what happens to people who get vaccinated,” adds Dr. Kanter.

Dr. Kanter says he spoke with Dr. Fauci about this concern, who tells him there is a possibility that people may need a booster every three years for COVID, but Dr. Kanter says if that is the case it’s better than living in a pandemic. LDH says they want to see how the vaccine progresses overtime before they even start thinking about a booster vaccine. For now, their main focus for the state is to get as many folks vaccinated.

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