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Louisiana nursing homes are slow to get the coronavirus vaccine

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Across the state, there is slow progress in getting COVID-19 vaccines to nursing home residents.

This as the number of cases and deaths continues to rise at an alarming rate.

Exactly two weeks after CVS and Walgreens started administering the vaccines, just over 5,000 nursing home residents and staff have received their first dose. Last week, more than 500 new nursing home cases popped up, making it the highest number of new cases since the summer, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Matthew Karam works at Jefferson Manor nursing home, where about 60% of his residents are vaccinated and doing well. Karam says he’s concerned that the slow rollout will push back any hope of normalcy.

“We did expect it to move a little bit quicker,” Karam said. “It could drag the precautions and everything a little longer. It could make [us] stay in lockdown a little longer.”

St. Clare Manor nursing home is one of the lucky ones. About 90% of residents have received their first shot. This is a big turnaround from being identified as one of the first COVID-19 clusters.

“We’re starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel,” Maria Smith says.

Nursing home leaders say the sooner everyone gets vaccinated, the better.

“As [many] vaccinations as we can get done to help families come back into the building, we’re all for that,” Keith Cooper says.

Louisiana Department of Health reports more than 2,000 nursing home residents have died from the disease statewide.

Officials say they’re hoping they can get the shot to their residents before it’s too late.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have proven to be more than 90% effective.

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