Vaccine providers in La. receive more COVID-19 vaccines this week

Nearly 1.2 million Louisianans now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 4:57 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Almost 400 vaccine providers across Louisiana will receive more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, now allowing people age 65 and older to receive the drug.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the vaccine will now be available for groups in Phase 1B, Tier 1:

  • Dialysis providers and patients
  • Ambulatory and outpatient providers and staff: Behavioral health providers and staff; Urgent care clinic providers and staff; Community care providers and staff; Dental providers and staff
  • Professional home care providers, including hospice workers, and home care recipients.
  • Interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSPs) working in community and clinic-based settings, and clients who are both deaf and blind
  • Health-related support personnel
  • Schools of allied health students, residents and staff

Vinnie’s Pharmacy in Metairie is one of the pharmacies in Jefferson Parish receiving limited doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 65 and up.

Pharmacist Vinnie Polizzi said the demand for the drug has kept him and his business busy.

“It’s been a little crazy the last few days since they did raise the age to over 65, we’ve been getting quite a few phone calls. Our list has grown from a few hundred to almost a couple of thousand,” said Polizzi.

A COVID-19 vaccine provider for going on three weeks, he said while the waitlist is growing, overall, the process has been smooth.

“We find that as we are going through our list, which is a good thing, a lot of people have been on multiple lists and some have gotten their [vaccine] already, so the list is going a little faster than expected,” he said. “When you say 2,000-- a lot of people think that’s a large number, but it’s going quicker than we thought it would go.”

Jeffrey Ciolino, pharmacist of Ciolino Drugs in Harahan, echoed the same message saying the demand is much higher than the doses available.

“A lot of people are calling; a lot of people are sending emails; a lot of people are coming in signing on our list,” said Ciolino. “I mean we have about 700 people on our waiting list and we get 100 [doses] per week, so right now people are coming in, signing up, and I’m telling them it’ll be about a month probably.”

The pharmacists hoping to speed up the vaccine administration process so more people can be protected from the virus and have peace of mind.

“We would like to get a few more [doses] so we could go down our list quicker and get more people vaccinated,” said Polizzi.

Both encourage those eligible to receive the vaccine to sign-up on multiple waiting lists for the vaccine in order to receive it as soon as possible.

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