The Louisiana Department of Health is asking hospitals with excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to begin administering them to patients who fit into the Tier 1B vaccination group.
That means if the number of current or future rations of doses a hospital has is higher than its uptake — the number of people choosing to receive the vaccine — it can use those extra shots for patients.
The new guidance adds providers and staff in urgent care, community care clinics, dental clinics, behavioral health facilities and dialysis centers to the list of those eligible to receive the COVID-19 shots.
The hospitals have been receiving the Pfizer vaccine since last month, so Tier 1B patients could receive either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine if they go through the hospitals.
“We are so encouraged by our residents’ clear demand for the COVID vaccine,” Department of Health Secretary Courtney N. Phillips said. “While demand is clearly outpacing supply, this is just the start.”
More than 100 pharmacies across the state are receiving roughly 10,700 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week. The original Tier 1B group included people over the age of 70, home healthcare providers and their patients, students and staff of allied health institutions, ambulatory and outpatient care workers and patients on dialysis.
There are more than 485,000 people over the age of 70 living in Louisiana. Phillips and Gov. John Bel Edwards have said it will take weeks to months to immunize everyone in the Tier 1B group.
New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said hospitals are continuing to vaccinate frontline staff who want the vaccine.