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Vaccine sites: Check back on Monday

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Lincoln Parish residents wondering why the healthcare provider with whom they wanted to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination has disappeared from the Louisiana Department of Health’s website of vaccine locations now have an answer. Sort of.

“The list on the website only includes sites who are receiving new first doses in a given week,” LDH Communications Strategist Kevin Litten said via email Thursday. “Any site receiving first doses next week will be back on the list on Monday morning.”

At least three local providers who are still administering shots were dropped from the list over the last few weeks, making it appear those locations were no longer vaccination sites.

There is nothing on the LDH website that explains the on-again, off-again situation to people who want to be vaccinated and meet the current tier of eligibility.

Litten said the department’s decision to list only current firstdose availability is “to reduce the number of calls a facility will get when they do not have new doses available, as well as the number of facilities a person would have to call in order to find an available appointment.”

Last week, six sites were on the list: Lincoln Parish Health Unit, PHSC Grambling Family Health, Ruston Apothecare, Southstar Urgent Care, and pharmacies at both Ruston Walmart locations.

Litten said sites administering second doses aren’t listed on the website because those “doses are already spoken for and administered to whoever received the first dose.”

Sites that have been on the list but weren’t the week of Feb. 22-26: Northern Louisiana Medical Center, Green Clinic, the Prescription Shoppe, Super 1 and Lincoln Community Health Center.

When asked how residents can know if a site is still operational, Litten said: “The only thing I can really say is they’ll have to check the list on Monday to make sure that site is available.”

NLMC, Green Clinic and Lincoln Community Health Center are still active vaccine providers.

A spokesperson for the Prescription Shoppe said they haven’t received any vaccine in several weeks but would resume offering shots if, or when, they get additional doses. Super 1 could not be reached for comment.

LDH does not compile parish-by-parish vaccination statistics, but they do show how many doses have been sent thus far to providers.

According to the list that was last updated at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 22, Lincoln Parish providers have received 5,510 first doses since the rollout began in mid-December.

The first doses include both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Slightly more than half of the first doses were shipped to NLMC, the recap shows. All have been the Pfizer vaccine.

Some 1,600 first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine went to Lincoln Kidney Center.

Meanwhile, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln Parish stood at 3,242 as of Friday, according to LDH.

That number is cumulative to the first cases reported in the parish on March 22, 2020, and includes the 84 residents who have died from the respiratory virus, as well as five more people whose deaths are likely to have resulted from COVID-19.

In a town hall meeting aired Thursday with the Baton Rouge Advocate, Gov. John Bel Edwards hinted he will loosen Louisiana’s COVID restrictions next week when the current emergency order expires.

“I anticipate, based on the data I understand to be accurate … we will be making some changes with the proclamation that will become effective next Wednesday,” Edwards said.

The number of new virus cases statewide, as well as hospitalizations, has dropped, the governor said.

Louisiana began reopening for Phase 1 on May 15-16, 2020, then moved to Phase 2 on June 5.

Edwards extended Louisiana’s Phase 2 restrictions twice in August before moving the state to Phase 3 on Sept. 11. The governor then moved the state back to the current modified Phase 2 in late November.

Edwards said the public health emergency that’s gripped Louisiana for almost a year may be over by Labor Day. But the variables include availability of vaccine, the number of people who choose to get vaccinated and the more contagious UK variant.

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 18 cases of variant in the state, with an additional 50 cases suspected. None are in Lincoln Parish.