Shortly after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the widespread use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, Governor John Bel Edwards said the moment was a 'hopeful and historic' one for the country and state.
In the statement, which was released late Friday night, the governor thanked scientists, doctors, and other health care workers and researchers who have contributed to the vaccine's development.
Louisiana's first two weekly shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will total around 79,000 doses, Edwards said, with the first doses being administered to health care and emergency medical services workers. The group totals between 125,000 and 135,000 people.
The second vaccine, by Moderna, is expected to get federal emergency use authorization next week, and when it's shipped will be used for staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, between 75,000 and 80,000 residents, Gov. Edwards explained.
Overall, the state is expecting 80,000 doses of the vaccine in one shipment, followed by a second shipment of 27,000.
After these first groups are vaccinated, the vaccine will then be made available to additional groups based on a priority system developed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, following federal guidance.
"Through vaccination of a significant portion of the population, Louisiana will be able to achieve herd immunity to this virus," Gov. Edwards stated.
Ocshner Health System is expecting to receive its first doses of the vaccine by early next week, and will then distribute them across the state. The vaccine is also being shipped to Lafayette General Health and Our Lady of Lourdes.
Read more on how the systems are preparing to distribute the vaccine here.
"Today is not the end of the pandemic, but it is the beginning of the end," the governor said. "And, as we await the day when a significant portion of Louisianans can receive the vaccine, which at this time is anticipated to be in spring 2021, we must continue to do what we know works: wearing our masks, keeping social distance, avoiding congregating with people outside of our households, staying home, getting tested when we have been exposed, and washing our hands regularly. May God bless you all."
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