While hesitating, Louisiana becomes creative in the spread of vaccines

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (AP) — Brass band playing in a 24-hour drive-through Coronavirus vaccine Event. The dose was delivered to a commercial fisherman a few minutes from the dock. Buddhist temple pop-up vaccination clinics, homeless shelters, truck stops, casinos. Shots are available at night or on weekends.

And now, door-to-door visits have begun in areas where few people have been vaccinated.

Louisiana has aggressive and sometimes creative outreach to make vaccination as easy as possible, and a full coat press to take shots in the arms. Vaccine supply is skyrocketing, but demand is not soaring, so effort is needed.

The state has hired health care workers, colleges, community groups, and church ministers to help hesitate and launch vaccination events. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards People over 16 years old.. The health department has set up a call center to answer questions about vaccines and set up appointments for people with limited internet access and technical skills.

Citizens and faith-based groups working with the state are beginning to use tactics such as exercising voting rights, knocking on doors, and making phone calls to market vaccines.

However, despite its widespread access, Louisiana authorities are suffering from problems that are about as daunting as COVID-19 itself.

“Frankly, I don’t know what people are waiting for. That doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll continue to appeal to them,” Edwards said.

Health officials believe it is necessary to prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, a benchmark of more than 70% of the population immunized by either vaccination or past infections We are predicting when it will be difficult to reach the threshold. This issue is especially urgent as more virulent and infectious virus strains reach the United States.

According to a state survey, more than 40% of Louisiana residents are hesitant or do not want to be vaccinated at all. Louisiana administers higher doses than other southern states, Remaining on the bottom According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six people are vaccinated against adults over the age of 18.

Other states are also trying new approaches as interest in vaccines has declined significantly or they are concerned about fair access.

Alaska’s health department is considering establishing a vaccine clinic at the airport. Ohio health agencies have asked vaccine providers to develop a site near the bus stop and consider providing mobile vaccination services. In Connecticut, the health department has begun an initiative to call residents directly to make reservations. Mississippi works with local organizations to provide direct vaccinations to returning elderly people. Alabama’s health agency has decided how to investigate vaccine resistance and create a message to appeal to those who are hesitant.

Dr. Catherine O’Neill, Chief Medical Officer of the Hour Lady of the Ray Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said that not only from those who believe in false information about vaccines from social media, but also those who don’t. He said he was also listening. A sense of urgency about getting a shot. Others are worried about side effects.

“We have enough vaccines … if you need to make a reservation, you can get it within a week,” O’Neill said. But for many, “there is no driving force when to get it.”

According to state data, nearly 31% of the state’s population is vaccinated at least once, which may require two doses. Over 22% are fully vaccinated.

Shane Pizzani, a former Marine living in the suburbs of New Orleans, was infected with COVID-19 shortly after Thanksgiving and had prolonged symptoms for over a month. Still, he was worried about the vaccine.

To alleviate his worries, he conducted a study, discussed it with his doctor, and got the information he said to reassure him more. He had a panic attack when he got his first shot in mid-February.

Still, he went to work to persuade his mother after receiving the second dose. The mother repeated the conspiracy theories against vaccines she saw on social media.

“I just continued, continued, continued. I told her,” If I give you a COVID and something happens to you, I can’t live with myself, so I We will stop coming with our children. ” “So she finally went and got her promise.”

Kerri Tobin, a professor of education at Louisiana State University, was initially worried that vaccine mixing would be too fast and unsafe. Then she saw more friends in the healthcare industry and other people she trusted posted on social media about receiving their doses.

“Seeing someone else doing it, they’re okay, and it keeps happening,” she said.

Tobin received a second dose of Pfizer vaccine at the end of March.

Health officials believe that certain reviews among friends and family can help boost vaccination.

Studies show that some people in cross-racial groups and regions are refraining from or not wanting the vaccine. A recent LSU survey showed that Republicans were less interested than Democrats. State officials are particularly concerned in southwestern Louisiana. In Louisiana, people are struggling to recover from a series of hurricanes and appear to be less focused on the pandemic.

In each case, Louisiana’s health department and state authorities are trying to find a compelling approach. For example, data show that blacks are vaccinated at a low rate, so the state contacts African-American ministers to host vaccination events in churches. The state’s Historically Black Colleges System provides its own targeted outreach that involves graduates and faith-based social organizations to encourage people to be vaccinated.

Some parishes have begun providing vaccines to seniors with disabilities at home and have signed a ride-sharing service that provides free transportation to and from vaccination events.

The spread of such vaccines could be further complicated by a suspension this week after a rare blood clot was reported in six women who received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Experts say it’s too early to decide whether it will increase resistance in Louisiana and elsewhere.

Louisiana Republican Secretary Mike Beyham fought a fierce battle with COVID-19 in March 2020. He was bedridden for a week and dealt with his symptoms for a few more weeks.

He has now received his first shot — and he encourages fellow Republicans to do the same. Bayham tells friends and colleagues that the vaccine is one of President Donald Trump’s greatest achievements and shares details about how he feels to have COVID-19.

“You don’t want this virus. Whatever the vaccine can do for you, the virus is much worse,” Bayham said.