SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Those over the age of 70 in the greater Shreveport-Bossier area can expect easier access soon to the COVID-19 vaccine.
LSU Health will open a drive-through vaccine site at Fairground Field starting on Monday. At least 1,000 people over 70 years old will be vaccinated every day, Monday-Friday, for weeks to come. You must complete the online registration form before going to the site.
Dr. John Vanchiere is the Chief of Infectious Disease at LSU Health Shreveport and Principal Investigator for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. He said the process will be an efficient way to start meeting the great demand of those over 70 wanting a vaccine.
“They don’t need to panic or rush out on Monday and wait in line for two to three hours to get a vaccine. We have plenty of vaccine. My advice is to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to avoid the rush. Just wait a couple more days. It’s going to be ok. We have plenty of vaccine and in line to get more from the state.”
He said residents living in smaller towns outside the Shreveport-Bossier area do not need to worry either about traveling to the site in Shreveport because LSU Health will be opening vaccine sites in every parish in northwest Louisiana in the coming weeks.
He said once seniors receive both doses they will be protected from COVID-19. They’ll have immunity and will not succumb to the deadly disease if they come into contact with it. However, scientists do not know how long the protection will last. The vaccine protects against the disease itself, but transmission of the virus is still unknown. Vanchiere said mask-wearing will continue as the best mitigation method until we know more about the viral transmission after people become vaccinated.
“We know the vaccine protects people from getting the illness, but we don’t know if it prevents infection from the germ. That’s a common scenario for a lot of different vaccines. Some prevent transmission as well as disease. Others just prevent disease. So we’re learning about this vaccine now over the next six to eight months,” Dr. Vanchiere said.
Dr. Vanchiere said he’s proud to have been a part of the team that helped create the vaccine, and he knows his mother who is a nurse in Lake Charles is very proud of him as well. He shares the message he tells to his students about the work they do and what is possible.
“The reason we do biomedical research it’s because the status quo is unacceptable. We want to change the status quo. We’ve done that. We’ve defied evolution with vaccines for the past 100 years or so.”
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