With select pharmacies now vaccinating a larger group of eligible Louisiana residents for the COVID-19 vaccine, Ochsner Lafayette General says they are ready and motivated to do the same.
On Wednesday, the health system released information about their vaccine roll out, saying that they would reach out to patients to begin scheduling. Those invitations were sent out via email, phone calls and text alerts to eligible patients, 70 year of age or older, who had been to an established Ochsner facility within the last 90 days.
In a call on Thursday with local media, Ochsner officials say they have received hundreds of replies for vaccinations within the group of 7,500 patients who were invited.
With the invitation to their patients, Ochsner Lafayette General says it is beginning the process of administering the vaccine outside of their hospital locations.
Beginning on Saturday OLGH will be setting up a vaccine site at the Heymann Center in Lafayette. The location will be for patients that have been schedule to receive the vaccine. There will be no walk-ups accepted, and hospital officials reiterated that only patients that have been contacted and schedule for an appointment can receive the vaccine.
The Heymann location was okay-ed by Lafayette Consolidated Government as a vaccine site, others locations may be utilized if, as priority groups expand, there is greater need for space.
"We feel really confident about it, we want people to feel good about it," Dr. Amanda Logue said. "Our team is motivated and we are moving as fast as we can and will push our resources as fast as we can."
There is no cost for the vaccine to patients. Logue says that there are administrative fees, about $40, which insurance companies will cover.
Since December, OLGH has been administering vaccines to their employees and other health professionals who wish to take the vaccine. Some have yet to get the vaccine but Logue says that apprehension about the vaccine has lessened and more and more health professionals are receiving a vaccine.
As of January 4, around 400 to 500 Oschner staff and outside health professional have received their second dose. Pharmacy Director Rodney Good says that two doses are needed for the current vaccines. With the first dose, 50 percent immunity is achieved, Logue says, the boost of the second vaccine raises that immunity to 95 percent after seven to ten days.
Side effects include muscle aches, weakness, and redness where the vaccination was administered. Oschner says these side effects are most common and have been observed in patients and other who have received the vaccine.
OLGH says there is concern about another possible surge of COVID-19 cases. Dr. Logue says that they usually see increased cases four weeks after a holiday. The hospitals have been discussing changes if necessary but no adjustments have been made.
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