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Bossier Schools prepare to offer COVID-19 vaccine to employees

Local

Bossier Parish school nurses observed the process Tuesday at the Bossier Civic Center where the Bossier City Fire Department was administering the vaccine. The district’s nursing staff will be facilitating the inoculations for Bossier Schools. (Source: Bossier Schools)

BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Bossier Schools are preparing to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to district employees when it becomes available in the next phase of Louisiana’s distribution plan.

After initially announcing early Tuesday afternoon that they would begin offering the first of a two-dose Moderna vaccine to all employees next week, district spokesperson Sonja Bailes later clarified that is not the case.

“The good news is Bossier Schools has planned extensively and is prepared for the release and administration of the vaccine as soon as it is received. We are eager to roll up our sleeves in order to provide greater protection for Bossier Parish and as soon as we know definitively when that will happen, we will let you know.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards is set to hold a briefing Wednesday on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and provide an update on vaccine distribution plans. He has said the state typically learns on Tuesdays how many more doses it can expect to receive the following week. That information, combined with guidance from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), are used to determine how distribution is prioritized.

Bailes confirmed that the district has opened up a survey to staff allowing them to opt in or out of receiving the vaccine and seven sites are being established where it will be administered to those wishing to receive it. The second dose will be given four weeks from the time the first injection was received.

Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey and Assistant Superintendent Jason Rowland received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at the Bossier Civic Center, where the Bossier City Fire Department was administering the vaccine to firefighters and EMS personnel. Bossier Schools nurses were there to observe, as they will be administering the vaccine to district staff when it becomes available. (Source: Bossier Schools)

Bailes said Bossier Parish school nurses observed the process Tuesday at the Bossier Civic Center, where the Bossier City Fire Department was administering the vaccine. The district’s nursing staff will be facilitating the inoculations for Bossier Schools.

“The Bossier City Fire Department, along with the Bossier Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Louisiana Office of Public Health, have been working closely with Bossier Schools to offer this opportunity. Leading by example, Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey and Assistant Superintendent Jason Rowland were the first to roll up their shirt sleeves to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Neither Downey or Rowland qualify under the current phases eligible to recieve the vaccine, but Bailes said there were left over doses of the available after firefighters were vaccinated that would have gone unused.

“Once vials are opened, they must be used. That said, they were looking for arms to put it in so the vaccine would not go to waste.”

“It is my hope by offering the vaccine to our 3,300 educators and employees, we will be able to put COVID in our rearview mirror sooner rather than later and restore some sense of normalcy to the classroom and everyday life,” Downey said.

Hospital, fire and EMS personnel were the first to receive the vaccine in mid-December under Phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan. Limited doses were distributed to pharmacies around Louisiana on Monday to begin vaccine distribution to those who qualify under Phase 1B, Tier 1, which includes those over the age of 70, home health agency patients and personnel, people on dialysis and dialysis clinic staff, as well as those who work in ambulatory and outpatient care, medical, dental, and behavioral clinics.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced late last week that the next phase of distribution (Phase 1B, Tier 2) will include teachers, grocery store workers, occupational and other kinds of therapists, along with other essential workers that keep the state functioning.

LDH says the vaccine is likely to become more widely available for the general population in late spring/summer 2021.

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