Ochsner says front line workers could get vaccines by mid-December

Ochsner says front line workers could get vaccines by mid-December
Hospitals are preparing to deliver vaccines to frontline workers. (Source: ochsner)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - One of Louisiana’s largest health systems expresses hope first responders could begin getting vaccines well before Christmas.

They laid out a possible timetable for two vaccines, with a possible third vaccine waiting in the wings.

With Louisiana’s COVID-19 death rate now at over 6,500 people the wait for a vaccine grows more intense.

“Pfizer is going up for FDA approval December 10 and we think it will be distributed by mid December,” said Katherine Baumgarten, MD, Ochsner Medical Director over infectious diseases.

During a Friday Facebook live event, Ochsner doctors discussed the vaccine timetable as well as first recipients.

“Healthcare workers will be prioritized at first we may not have enough I will have to prioritize those with higher risks,” said Baumgarten.

The state health department expects Louisiana will get 80-thousand doses before the end of the year Probably from Pfizer or Moderna.

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And Ochsner says they are preparing now. University medical center is making preparation as well but they worry about covering enough people.

“Even if we get some of the first doses available if there is only a handful of those available that is still obviously not enough for the number of people that are at risk,” said UMC Chief Medical Officer Nirav Patel, MD.

Ochsner says both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second dose to be administered up to 28 days after the first, but there is another possible vaccine being looked at they would only require a single dose.

“The dose we are studying at Ochsner by Jansen is a single dose and we’re waiting on data,” said Baumgarten.

Which ever vaccine is given, Ochsner says side effects will depend on the patient. It is a risk many say they are willing to take, some before the holidays.

“It would be a great Christmas present, maybe we can get a little bit just before Christmas,” said Ochsner Chief Medical Officer Robert Hart, MD.

Ochsner says for those who get either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, they can expect the vaccine to be 95% effective against coronavirus. Without the second dose, they say all bets are off.

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