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COVID-19 vaccine hard to find locally for residents

Tuesday, January 12, 2021
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Though Louisiana has doubled the number of places where people age 70 and over can receive COVID-19 immunizations, Lincoln Parish providers have very little, if any, of the vaccine.

Super 1 Pharmacy is the newest location on the updated list released Monday by the Louisiana Department of Health. Early in the day, callers to Super 1 got a recording saying the pharmacy didn’t have any information on its pending shipment and to call back.

But by noon, 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine had been delivered. The pharmacy has 500 people on its waiting list and, for now, is not accepting new patients, pharmacy clerk Ceonna Wayne said.

The pharmacy plans to call people on the list to get their injections. The people who receive injections will be able to get their second shot at Super 1, too, Wayne said.

Ruston’s Prescription Shoppe Pharmacy is the only other Lincoln Parish vaccine location on the LDH’s list. As of Monday morning, they had not gotten their second shipment of vaccines and didn’t know when to expect it, a spokesman said.

Last week, the pharmacy’s initial allocation of 100 doses was administered in less than 24 hours.

The current Phase 1B priority group is people age 70 and older, as well as kidney dialysis patients and specified health care workers.

Ruston’s Green Clinic qualified early on to be a vaccination site, but they still don’t have shots for their own employees, despite the fact that many of the frontline staffers are likely to be in contact with potentially COVID-positive patients on a near daily basis.

“We’re just waiting for the state to send us some vaccine,” clinic Chief Executive Officer India Carroll said Monday.

She said patients and members of the public are “calling all the time, ‘when I can get mine, when can I get mine?’”

As of Friday, the Lincoln Parish Health Unit was also awaiting doses. They were taking a waiting list by phone. The facility was closed Monday because of the winter weather.

Carroll said part of the problem all around seems to be the state doesn’t know how much vaccine they’re going to get. It’s the federal government that’s portioning out the doses.

“It’s a supply issue. The state’s not getting enough to get it out to people,” Carroll said.

Yet there are reports that batches of the vaccine are sitting in warehouses.

LDH Communications Director Aly Neel could not be reached for comment Monday as to what the problems were with the vaccine program.

Meantime, one local nursing home is scheduled to get its first batch of vaccine Wednesday, and another facility is expecting its initial batch next week. Both are partnering with drugstore chain Walgreens.

Princeton Place Administrator Angie Smith said 125 vaccine doses will arrive Wednesday for staff and residents. She said consent was needed from staff and residents, and not everybody wanted to take a vaccine.

All of the state’s nursing homes have signed a partnership between the federal government, CVS and Walgreens that calls for pharmacy workers to administer the injections. There are no local CVS pharmacies.

The statewide rollout to nursing homes began about two weeks ago.

Oschsner Health, with area locations in Monroe and Shreveport, is administering vaccines to patients 70 and older, patients who are on dialysis, ambulatory healthcare workers, and schools of allied health employees and faculty by appointment only. Vaccine quantities are limited. For more information call 318-626-0050.