Gov. John Bel Edwards expands vaccine eligibility in La. to all essential workers

Gov. John Bel Edwards expands vaccine eligibility in La. to all essential workers

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - During his news conference on Thursday, March 18, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he is expanding vaccine eligibility in Louisiana to all essential workers at least 16 years old.

Gov. Edwards announced the next tier of vaccine eligibility will open on Monday. It includes most adults in the state. Everyone who falls into the categories below is eligible, regardless of their underlying health conditions.

Vaccine eligibility
Vaccine eligibility (Source: LDH)

According to the governor, this will most likely be the last expansion of eligibility before it is opened up to everyone. He is not yet sure when that announcement can be made. He added he believes Louisiana will beat President Biden’s goal of opening up eligibility to all adults by May.

“Our vaccine strategy in Louisiana has been to make sure that we were vaccinating the most high-risk individuals to protect them from getting COVID-19 and also preserve capacity in our hospitals,” said Gov. Edwards. “We’ve seen encouraging trends in our percent positivity of tests and also a drop in the number of Louisianans hospitalized with COVID. While many essential workers may already be eligible because of their underlying health conditions, beginning Monday, additional workers in key sectors will be able to get their vaccines, which is good news for tens of thousands of Louisianans who have helped keep our state running during these very trying times.”

He said those looking to receive the vaccine will need to provide some form of identification, like a badge or pay stub, to prove they meet the eligibility criteria to receive the shot.

The governor’s other major announcement is the Sleeves Up Bring Back Louisiana campaign. The state will start with nine pilot sites across the state starting the second and third weeks of April to meet people where they are to receive the vaccine. There will be lots of targeted outreach to answer questions people have to not only reduce hesitancy about receiving the vaccine but finding those areas where more resources are needed. The campaign is looking for volunteers. CLICK HERE to fill out the form if you’re interested.

Louisiana is currently leading the nation in people getting their second dose of the vaccine on time and the number of people in the state hospitalized with the coronavirus is the lowest it has been since March 2020.

Gov. Edwards also mentioned as of Tuesday, March 16, he is fully vaccinated (NOTE: A person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final vaccination dose) and is excited to safely visit with and hug his 85-year-old mother without wearing masks for the first time in more than a year. Dr. Joseph Kanter added that his mother is visiting his family right now and the campaign is about extending that opportunity to everyone in Louisiana.

Dr. Kanter stated that up to this point, the greatest obstacle has been the limited supply of the vaccine but lots more doses will be coming in April.

The governor also announced that new COVID data will only be released Monday through Friday, effective immediately. Data from the weekend will be included in the Monday numbers.

RELATED STORIES:

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2021 WAFB. All rights reserved.