Demand for COVID vaccines drop in Louisiana

Vaccination rates are the lowest since January

Demand for COVID vaccines drop in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have dropped significantly as more people have gotten vaccinated, but those rates are also now dropping.

“We see roughly about 20 people a day, sometimes less, sometimes a little more, but it’s anybody that really comes in and asks us if we have any vaccine,” Pharmacist Khanh Tran said.

At NOLA Discount Pharmacy, it was hard to keep up with the demand for months. Tran was jabbing up to 60 people a day and fielding calls, asking about extra doses. Now, he’s giving them away to anyone who walks up.

“Anybody that comes in and picks up a prescription we always try to ask if they’ve got vaccinated already and if not, let’s set you up,” Tran said.

The week of March 8, vaccinations peaked in the state at over 283,000 doses given out.

Last week, it dropped to around 61,000, the lowest since January, when vaccines became available.

“People are over it and you had people that were not going to do it,” Health Educator Dr. Eric Griggs said. “We’re finally reaching that threshold, no matter what you say, we still have people that are hesitant and we are dealing with younger populations.”

Even though only 26 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, last week Louisiana only asked for around 66,000 doses from the Federal Government.

Unclaimed doses no longer carry over week to week for states, instead, they’ll be distributed to other areas showing higher demand.

“Until the level of urgency comes back and until we have more data and more time, I’m afraid we’re stuck kind of in a holding pattern and this has been typical of the whole virus journey we’ve been on,” Griggs said.

The state now focused on ramping up efforts to reach those hesitant to get the shot or without access.

“If you bring it to people, if you remove the hurdle, the barrier to access, just remove it by bringing it to the people with strike teams and community events, you’ll get a lot more people convinced,” Griggs said. “This is all based on relationships with people, touching people, meeting people where they are.”

Last week, Together Louisiana hit the streets in the East and didn’t know how it would turn out, but the next day they had a line out the door at a vaccine event.

Griggs says it’s about empowering people with knowledge.

Tran says his days are now filled with a lot more conversations.

“I was talking to somebody who worked outside and they’re like, I don’t really work with a lot of people, I don’t really feel like I need to,” Tran said. “Luckily, she was like, okay, it’s a good idea.”

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