Vaccine-seekers will need to ‘attest’ to pre-existing conditions

Vaccine-seekers will need to ‘attest’ to state pre-existing condition eligibility criteria

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - While more than 100,000 people in Louisiana have received their COVID-19 vaccines, thousands more still patiently wait their turn.

“For the good of the community, I’m ok waiting a little longer, staying in my house a little longer,” said Mary Emmerling.

With the state expanding eligibility, it opens the door for even more shot-seekers to get vaccinated.

“Because the list of pre-existing conditions is pretty extensive so if you look it up, I think everyone can maybe find one,” said Kelsey Wotila.

All it will require is a double-check of the state’s criteria and requirements before setting up an appointment.

“For me, I’ll have a little more peace of mind knowing I’m vaccinated when I get it,” said Wotila.

One year after the state reported the first case of coronavirus in the state, Governor Edwards announced expanding vaccine eligibility to include all adults and some teenagers who have pre-existing conditions or meet other criteria.

Vaccine eligibility
Vaccine eligibility (Source: LDH)

“There is a form that will be required that you have one of these conditions that the patient has to sign when they come in for their appointment. Or there are ways that they can do it if they’re signing up online,” said Dr. Jeffrey Elder with LCMC Health.

Taking a moment between vaccinating almost 1,000 people at the Convention Center’s site, Dr. Elder says they’re already seeing more appointment signs-ups since the announcement, something he encourages.

“I think it’s a good thing. You just have to know that if you fall in one of these categories that are eligible now, that you are going to have to sign an attestation that you have one of these conditions, and then we’ll get you vaccinated,” said Elder.

Reporter: But if you agree to an attestation, that’s essentially an honor system.

“It is, you know, it is. And I think the reason they do this is to begin to make it easy,” Dr. Elder says.

He says the laxer requirements are intentional, not wanting to throw up more obstacles when they can inoculate more of the public.

“This is a public health emergency and the way we get out of this is vaccinating the masses,” said Elder.

The state health department says vaccine providers will not ask for documentation to verify pre-existing conditions.

Elder pointed out many times they’re vaccinating people who aren’t a part of their health system and verifying these conditions would slow down vaccination efforts.

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