COVID vaccine age eligibility lowered to 65
Louisiana will begin vaccinating people between the ages of 65 and 69 against COVID-19 on Monday, Feb. 8, expanding eligibility to more than 275,000 additional Louisianans, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced.
Some Unified Command Group members, state COVID emergency response personnel, local emergency response personnel, law enforcement, first responders and elections workers for the upcoming March and April elections will also be eligible.
An increase in doses available from the federal government to the state, the progress in administering vaccines to earlier groups and concerns about emerging COVID variants prompted Edwards to lower the age for who can be vaccinated.
Louisiana has recently joined a federal pharmacy partnership that could bring as many as 14,000 additional weekly doses to the state, in addition to a weekly increase of doses by more than 20 percent from the federal government.
Finally, the state has been allowed to take unused, stockpiled doses from its allocation to the federal long term care partnership to be administered in Louisiana pharmacies and clinics.
“An increase in supply of doses and our strong progress in vaccinating Louisianans allows us to expand vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older, meaning many of the most vulnerable who are most at risk for suffering serious COVID complications or death will now be able to schedule their appointments,” Edwards said. “Data shows that people between the ages of 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID and 90 times more likely to die than younger people.”
“Especially as new variants of the coronavirus spread throughout the country and state, it’s absolutely critical that we vaccinate as many people as we can and that everyone in Louisiana gets their shot when it is their turn and continues to wear masks, stay home when they can, keep social distance and avoid gatherings with people outside of their immediate household.
“As the variants have become more aggressive and the potential for a fourth surge in cases grows, vaccinating some emergency responders to ensure the government can manage the crisis is critical,” Edwards said.
Louisiana’s vaccine strategy was informed by the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended prioritizing health care workers, nursing home residents, people 75 and older and some essential frontline workers.
Recently, both the administrations of former President Donald Trump and that of President Joseph Biden and other federal officials have encouraged states to make vaccinations for people 65 and older a top priority. Already, at least 29 other states offer vaccines to people 65 and older.
The Department of Health will work with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness on eligibility for essential state COVID responders and local emergency personnel. Eligibility will be limited to key responders working to ensure the state is able to respond during the COVID pandemic.
LDH has published the list of participating providers on its website: covidvaccine.la.gov. In addition, residents can call 211 to find a vaccine provider near them.
LDH cannot make appointments for patients; only providers can.
Patients should receive their second dose of the COVID vaccine at the same location where they received their first dose. Second-dose appointments should be made during the administration of the first dose.
Eight distribution sites are available in Acadia Parish, including:
• Acadia Parish Health Unit, 1029 Capitol Ave., Crowley; (337) 788-7507
• Acadia-St. Landry Hospital, 810 S. Broadway St., Church Point; (337) 684-5435
• Carmichael’s Cashway Pharmacy, 1002 N. Parkerson Ave., Crowley: (337) 783-7200
• Church Point Community Planning, 731 S. Main St., Church Point: (337) 684-1911
• Miller’s Family Pharmacy, 119 S. Fifth St., Iota: (337) 779-2214
• Rayne Medicine Shoppe, 913 The Boulevard, Rayne: rayne.medicineshoppe.com/contact or (337) 334-3399
• Walgreens Pharmacy - Crowley, 806 Odd Fellows Road, Crowley: www.walgreens.com/covid19vac
• Walmart Pharmacy, 729 Odd Fellows Road, Crowley: www.walmart.com/store/310-crowely-la or (337) 783-2150
Eligible residents are urged to contact a participating provider and make an appointment with them as patients who arrive without an appointment will not be vaccinated.