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Efforts to reach the unvaccinated expand and become more creative

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Local health care entities and community organizations are getting more creative as they try to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.

The sense of urgency comes as public demand for vaccinations has waned across the state and nationally.

On Xavier University’s campus, a vaccination event held by DePaul Community Health Centers took place.

Michael Griffin is President and CEO of DePaul Community Health Centers in New Orleans and he pondered why fewer people are stepping up to get the vaccine amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Things are opening up, people are going back and trying to normalize their lives and that’s giving, I think, some of the individuals who haven’t gotten vaccinated the impression that they don’t need to, but the truth of the matter is we still don’t know everything about this disease and we need as many people as we can still to get vaccinated,” said Griffin.

On Saturday (May 8) CrescentCare will give coronavirus vaccinations during a festival with a timely name.

Dr. Jason Halperin is an infectious diseases physician at CrescentCare.

“We’re doing an event at The Broadside which is right next to the Broad Theater, ‘Get It For Your Mama’. We want to recognize Mother’s Day, a collaboration with DJ RQ Away. You can get a free drink, free popcorn, and a free plant for your mama,” said Halperin.

Griffin says they are being as flexible as possible to reach more of the unvaccinated.

“We are moving our vaccination program around to numerous places throughout the city, working with churches and other associations and non-profits out in the community,” Griffin stated.

No region of the state has 40% of its population fully vaccinated according to a La. Department of Health Map.

“Our goal in our community should be to reach herd immunity,” said Halperin.

But the state is far from that goal.

“It’s definitely concerning and I want everyone to understand and realize that we’re not out of the woods yet,” Griffin stated.

And there is a push to get more young people to be vaccinated. In Louisiana, shots are available for anyone 16 years old and up. “It is now a real focus that we must have in the public health system on vaccinating young people because though they are at risk their chance of getting sick is lower that’s a fact. But they could keep the transmissions of the virus going,” said Halperin.

Warmer temperatures will encourage more people to be out and about and that underscores the need to be vaccinated, according to Halperin. “We live in an incredible city, it’s beautiful, it’s fun, we love to celebrate,” said Halperin. “So, it is essential for us to incorporate a plan to get vaccinated and celebrate.”

And in an effort to reach as many people as possible the Xavier site was not the only vaccination event held Friday by DePaul. “We’ll do a few hundred shots today, but we have done upwards of, close to 20,000 vaccinations since we’ve been doing this,” said Griffin.

And on Saturday CrescentCare vaccination festival will be from noon to 3 p.m.

“We could vaccinate hundreds. We have an amazing rolling refrigerator,” said Halperin.

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