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New Orleans nearing 80 percent vaccination status, state data shows

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans is on the verge of hitting a key milestone when it comes to protecting its population from coronavirus. By the end of this week, four out of every five adults in the city are expected to have had at least one vaccine shot as other parishes play catch-up.

On a day when Louisiana reported a record 139 deaths, some progress was reported in Orleans parish.

Though the death rate is climbing state-wide, New Orleans is making inroads in the fight against coronavirus, seeing 3% growth in the vaccination rate since new mask and vaccine mandates were put in place a week and a half ago.

“The mandate is working. At least 78% of the eligible adult population has at least one shot and we expect the number to climb to 80% by the end of the week,’ said city communications director Beau Tidwell.

Of the total Orleans Parish population, 63% of people have had at least one shot, leading Jefferson Parish, which has seen about 60% of its population get their first dose. St. Tammany is at 53.2% and St. Bernard is at 36.8%.

“I do not want this to go into 2022... so everything we do is necessary,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

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The Orleans vaccination rate is a victory for a mayor who presides over a predominantly African-American city, where there has been traditional distrust over vaccinations.

“I really say thank you, thank you in a big way to protect yourself in this community,” said Cantrell.

A psychiatrist at LSU Health Sciences Center says the mayor deserves credit because she never wavered in her push for vaccinations.

“This requires repetitive messaging. Few people get all the information accurately the first time. For a lot of reasons, it takes a while for it to sink in,” said Dr. Rahn Bailey, with LSUHSC.

The mayor has also adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for city employees, which few other parishes have done. And as New Orleans prepares to about to hit the vaccination milestone, the mayor plans to keep pushing.

“Maybe it was still lagging behind when it comes to getting to 100%, but the city has led since day one,” said Cantrell.

Unless something drastic happens, it will likely continue to do so.

The city’s COVID-positivity rate now stands at 11.4%. The city says that’s down from over 12% the previous two weeks.

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