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Lincoln Parish schools await their turn for vaccine

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A little more than half of the Lincoln Parish School District’s employees are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine once the distribution tier that includes K-12 schools opens up.

Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Lisa Bastion said Friday some 54% of the district’s staff, a total of 535 employees, have expressed interest in being given the vaccine.

“We feel really good about that number,” Bastion said. “That’s higher than many districts, so we’re really excited about that number.”

The district has partnered with Northern Louisiana Medical Center as its provider for the vaccine doses, but Louisiana must first enter Tier 2 of Phase 1B of distribution before the school system can submit its dosage amount request to the state Department of Health.

“Right now, we’re just having to wait on our tier to open up,” Bastion said. “We are hoping it opens up within the next two weeks so we can at least get the order in.”

The state is currently in Phase 1B, Tier 1 of vaccine distribution, which includes people age 70 and older and several types of medical providers. The next tier expands to K-12 personnel, essential personnel and first responders who weren’t covered in the previous phases, among other things.

“We’re not sure what the lag time will be between the order and when the hospital receives (the vaccines)” Bastion said.

The vaccine is a two-stage process with doses spread 21 days apart. The immunization is not at its full effectiveness until after the second shot.

As previously reported, even those residents who already qualify to receive the vaccine are having a hard time finding any available at Lincoln Parish providers, who had already administered their first shipments.

Grades 7-12 will be moving back into an everyday in-person schedule on Tuesday after reverting to the alternating day schedule for two weeks before and after the holiday break to alleviate a substitute shortage among schools across the parish.