Louisiana still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and some say they have no plans to change that

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 4:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Hospitals across Baton Rouge continue to report large numbers of COVID patients with most of them being people who are unvaccinated. Still, the majority of people in Louisiana have not gotten the shot. One couple spoke with WAFB to explain why they are not choosing to get the shot.

Del Stafford and his wife say they are hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine, saying they still need more information about it, and they’re concerned that the FDA has not officially approved it yet.

“So, there is a lot of questions, there’s a lot of fudginess. I don’t think that everything is being put out, the information out there to make people feel comfortable about it,” says Stafford. He is most worried about any possible long-term effects, and with that unknown, he will not be getting the vaccine. “I don’t trust it due to I don’t have anything to really go off of, the only reason why I looked that was because of how fast it came out and how hard they are trying to push it,” adds Stafford.

Leaders in the medical community continue to try to change the minds of people like Stafford, pointing out that a large percentage of those being hospitalized with COVID right now are people who did not get the vaccine. Ochsner Health says among its Louisiana hospitals, they’ve seen a 75% increase in COVID patients in this past week alone, and 88% of those patients are unvaccinated.

“Do we think for one second that 60 medical societies would come out in favor of the vaccine if they didn’t think if was safe,” says Warner Thomas who is the president and CEO of Ochsner Health. Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, who is Ochsner’s medical director of infection control and prevention adds, “We have, as Warner mentioned, 548 patients in our hospitals across the system due to COVID, we don’t know of any in the hospital right now due to a vaccine.”

Ochsner leaders say they have seen the vaccine do its job keeping vaccinated people out of the hospital, but still, some like Stafford say it’s just not enough to change his mind yet. WAFB asked him if he would get the vaccine in the future once he felt like he had more information, Stafford says, “I am not going to say I wouldn’t ever, but it is more of a wait and see.”

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