Medical experts and governor participate in roundtable to explain vaccine rollout, what’s next across Louisiana

Gov. Edwards holds roundtable on coronavirus vaccine

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Public Broadcasting held a roundtable discussion called “The COVID-19 Vaccine in Louisiana: What You Need to Know.”

The governor along with top medical experts went over questions about the vaccines and how they will be distributed throughout the state, along with where we are in the fight against coronavirus.

The panelists answered questions like, why it’s important to get the two doses of the vaccine.

“You need two doses of that vaccine to get to that 94, 95% protection. You do get some protection after the first dose, but it’s going to be really important to for people to get that second dose, to achieve that level of protection,” said Dr. Tina Stefanski, Office of Public Health Regional Medical Director for Region 4.

And questions like how long the governor believes we will have to wear a mask.

“The CDC recommendations are that we continue to wear a mask even after receiving the vaccine. There is no evidence yet that individuals still can’t be exposed to the virus and shed virus, so they can be contagious even though they don’t have the disease,” said Governor Edwards.

They also talked about potential side effects, especially for those with allergies.

“Maybe some soreness at the sight, mild body aches, headache. Again, very for the most part have been very mild symptoms. Typically, those symptoms most commonly occur after the second dose, within the first 3 days, and people recover within a day,” said Dr. Stefanski.

Another concern is how to build trust in the African-American community to take the vaccine.

“Many physicians and specialists of color, scientists like myself, are in the room making those decisions, we need to know that. That did not occur in the (19)30′s and 40′s,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University and a pharmacist who participated in the clinical trial.

Some wanted to know if you already got COVID-19 and recovered, would you still need to get a vaccine?

“Yeah, we think so. w=We think it’s actually going to add extra protection, to what they already would have after getting COVID,” said Dr. Joe Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health.

And the biggest question of all, when will we get back to normal.

“At the end of the day, this vaccine is how we get back to normal. This is how we get back to normal and the more that we spread that message, the more and more confidence, and excitement about the vaccine will be built,” said Dr. Kanter.

According to LDH, so far, this past week, hospitals across the state have already administered around 11,500 doses of the vaccine, as of December 18.

Louisiana is expected to receive 28,000 more doses of the pFizer vaccine by Monday, December, 21.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.