Frustration grows over vaccine rollout, as many are hopeful their loved ones make pharmacy waiting list

Many hopeful to see their loved ones grove frustrated waiting for COVID-19 vaccine

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The less than stellar vaccine rollout has left a lot of people with questions, about when and even how their loved ones can get one.

WAFB made a lot of calls to pharmacies on Tuesday, January 5. It’s definitely not been easy to get in line for many folks to get in line for a vaccine.

The CDC is reporting that the state will get close to 56,000 doses of vaccines delivered by January 10.

- 28,275 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine will be shipped in LA

- 27,500 doses of Moderna’s vaccine will be shipped to LA

And many people are just trying to be in that lucky number, to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

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“When [we found out] she could get the vaccine, we were on the phone trying to set up an appointment with her to get vaccinated,” said Mimi Hagan of Livingston Parish.

More than anything, Mimi Hagan wants her 82-year-old mother Shelly Strobel, to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“You know, we didn’t really do Thanksgiving, we did drive-by Thanksgiving. We did drive-by Christmas pretty much, and its all been about keeping mama from getting exposed to COVID,” said Hagan.

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Hagan’s mother Shelly has been hunkering down since the pandemic began.

She says one of her mom’s legs is paralyzed, and she also has Post-polio syndrome, after she was diagnosed with Polio at the age of two.

Family photo
Family photo (Source: WAFB)

On Monday, January 4, Hagan called many pharmacies near her home in Livingston Parish, to try to get a vaccine for her mother, and the process was just a lot.

“It seems to me like they rolled out the vaccines to little mom-and-pop pharmacies that are fantastic, but they really don’t have the staff to handle the number of calls that they’re getting,” said Hagan.

Hagan is one of the lucky ones, and was able to put her mother on a waiting list of who knows how many people in front of her, at Bernard’s Family Pharmacy in Denham.

A spokesperson with Governor Edwards’ Office told WAFB, “As the Governor has said, as we get additional vaccine doses allocated to the state, we will be able to push more to pharmacies and other places for people to get the vaccine. We had a very limited amount of vaccine allocated to some randomly selected pharmacies across the state for people in Priority Group 1B, Tier 1. In addition, LDH has advised hospitals that they may use their vaccine doses for people in this tier as well, which will open the vaccine up to even more people.

We appreciate the patience of Louisianans and we understand that right now there is far more demand for the vaccine than we have supply, which is frustrating. We are communicating with pharmacies and hospitals to ensure that we implement any lessons learned from the first few days of this tier in the future.”

But Hagan believes there needs to be an updated dashboard about how many vaccines pharmacies have left.

“Like you could log in and you can see, okay I’m number 300 and they’ve got 100 doses. So those 100 are gone. Maybe by third shipment, we’ll be ready to be vaccinated,” said Hagan.

Out of the 107 pharmacies in the state that have access to the vaccines, each pharmacy only got 100 doses.

Hagan just wants to get her family life back to normal.

“And it’s really going to be nice to be able to give her a hug. To know that the kids can go over there and see her, and we don’t have to worry about them getting her sick,” said Hagan.

It seems the main frustrations, are that many pharmacies are not keeping a waiting list to know when vaccines will be available, however some are.

A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Health also gave WAFB a statement which reads:

“Unfortunately, our major limiting factor is how much vaccine is made available to us. As we said last week we knew this would be a very limited initial allotment that we could make available for pharmacies. We are very encouraged by the high demand. While demand is clearly outpacing supply, this is just the start. We do anticipate vaccine will become increasingly available in the coming weeks and months, and as it does, we will continue to bring additional vaccination sites online. For now, 10,700 newly eligible residents will have the opportunity to get vaccinated this week and that’s progress.

As we also have said many times before, the vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel but they will not rescue us from this dangerous third surge. There’s more COVID in the state right now than there ever has been. We all need to keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.”

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