New Orleans excels in vaccine distributions

Hannah Mayer, News Editor

The state of Louisiana opened up vaccination eligibility for everyone ages 16 and older for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 18 and older for the Moderna vaccine on March 29, 2021. Louisiana was one of the first states in the country to expand eligibility to everyone but young children. The six states which opened eligibility before Louisiana are Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia

Existing health care providers are the primary distributors of the COVID-19 vaccines, as appointed by the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans Health Department has been coordinating COVID-19 vaccination working groups since October to aid providers in administering the vaccine effectively. 

NOHD also runs three to four vaccination sites per week in community-based settings that target hard-to-reach populations in underserved neighborhoods. This includes senior centers, homeless shelters and the Hollygrove, Lower 9 and West Bank regions. 

As of April 12, 40.5% of the New Orleans population has received at least one shot of any COVID-19 vaccine. In Orleans Parish, 27.8% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

According to the NOHD, New Orleans has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. The city’s high vaccination rates can be seen in a decrease of positive cases in the community. The city of New Orleans currently has a 0.9% COVID-19 positivity rate and Tulane University has a 0.0% positivity rate with a total of four active cases as of Wednesday night.

The Tulane School of Medicine has played a part in ensuring that New Orleanians are vaccinated. They have been able to provide vaccinations to the Tulane community, other universities and run a community-based site out of the medical school.

Despite all of this success, the city has seen a slowdown in the demand for the vaccine. The NOHD urges everyone to seek out the vaccine to protect themselves and the community and to get back to some form of normalcy with concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings.

According to the mayor’s office, the Louisiana Department of Health, NOHD, community vaccine providers including hospitals, community clinics, pharmacies, home health nurses, dialysis clinic nurses, EMS, the New Orleans Fire Department and volunteers are to thank for the work in vaccine distribution in New Orleans.

This article was updated April 15, 2021, at 1:34 p.m. correcting an inconsistency that said 40.5% of the New Orleans population had received one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine while 27.8% of Orleans Parish had received one shot, to now say that 27.8% had been fully vaccinated as of April 12.