LDH expands its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list to asthmatic patients

Louisiana Department of Health expands their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list to asthmatic patients

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Among the newly eligible to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines in Louisiana are sufferers of asthma, which affects 360,000 people in the state.

Experts say the vaccine is especially important for these patients.

Doctors say it’s very common for children all the way to adults to have asthma. The Louisiana Department of Health chose to expand the eligibility because asthma is considered a serious lung disease.

“Asthma can cause plenty of deaths a year,” said Shelly Mott, who suffers from the condition. “It’s a very scary illness. You literally cannot breathe, it cuts off your breathing, your bronchiolar tubes swell up.”

Mott was first diagnosed with asthma when she was just three years old. During the pandemic, she’s been doing her best to keep herself and her family away from the virus.

“I rolled with the punches. I wasn’t afraid, per se, but I did keep my asthma inhalers with me. That’s probably one thing that I really did do is keep inhalers with me at all times,” added Mott.

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Mott said she and her 20-year-old son, who also struggles with asthma, are talking about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Louisiana Department of Health recognizes COVID-19 as a respiratory illness and putting that on an asthmatic patient, who already struggles with breathing, can be detrimental. Dr. Ben Gaudin is a specialist in allergy and immunology. He has been recommending all of his patients with asthma get vaccinated.

“We are very excited that the group of patients, they are able to receive the COVID vaccine, is now including some of our asthmatics,” said Dr. Gaudin. “Asthma, again, can be triggered by respiratory infections and anything that helps reduce the risk of that infection will be very helpful in keeping them from catching the infection and having more difficulty with their asthma.”

In Louisiana, people who are 16 and 17 can only get the Pfizer shot. Those who are 18 and older can choose from any of the three COVID-19 vaccines.

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