Extremely low turnout at mass vaccination site assisted by FEDs

Updated: Apr. 18, 2021 at 11:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The scene at Bon Carre on Sunday, April 18, was there wasn’t a soul in line to get vaccinated at Baton Rouge’s new mass vaccination site.

“It’s a locally-executed, state-managed, federally-supported operation and again, we’re just happy to be here and provide this to the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish,” said Jay Moreau, operation section chief for FEMA.

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The partnership between the federal government and local and state agencies aims to get thousands of shots in arms every day, even going the extra mile.

“This site is here for free vaccines; you don’t have to have an appointment,” said Courtney Scott, assistant chief administrator for Mayor Broome’s office. “We’re providing transportation. We have Uber codes to get people here.”

The site opened on Friday, April 16, but despite the efforts to make the site as accessible as possible, the low turnout may be a concern, especially among one age group.

“And I’ll tell you, you know, millennials, young professionals, it’s on us. It’s on us to make it happen because we have the influence. We carry the decision making in our families and we have to do what we have to do to get there,” Scott added.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the state health department worries that the lack of young adults getting vaccinated could stall all the progress Louisiana has made in its fight against the virus.

“You know what’s interesting is if you look at our past two surges, increases in that age group, aged 18-29, preceded by a couple weeks,” said Kanter. “And what happened was increases in those age groups led to increases in older people.”

With the recent halt of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because of reports of blood clots, some people said they’re hesitant to feel comfortable with what they’re putting into their bodies.

“It’s not one particular demographic or one particular age group; it looks to be a large alarm so the young people are saying, ‘Just wait a minute and let me get a little bit more information so I can have a bit more of an informed consent,’” said Tamera Kleinpeter, a Baton Rouge resident.

Some people have also said the fact none of the COVID-19 vaccines are officially approved by the FDA and only authorized for emergency use is deterring them as well.

“I wouldn’t want to take something that’s not FDA approved because I trust them more than I trust the people giving them out and making them,” said Piper Gainous another Baton Rouge resident.

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