SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Starting Monday, teachers in Louisiana’s K-12 schools will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but few are likely to get their first dose anytime soon as the state awaits delayed shipments due to winter weather and districts work out their plans to distribute them.
“While this is great news that school districts around the state have been anxiously awaiting, eligibility is not equivalent to availability,” Bossier Parish Schools Public Relations Liaison Sonja Bailes said in a statement Friday, the day after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the expansion during a briefing Thursday.
Last week’s winter storms held up the shipment of six million doses from the federal government. Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a visit to Shreveport Saturday that last week’s shipment still had not arrived, but that it could come on the heels of this week’s shipment expected to arrive Monday or Tuesday.
On Sunday, the White House confirmed that about two million doses had been delivered, and that the administration is working with shippers and states to close the roughly six-million dose backlog.
The full list of people who will be newly eligible starting Monday includes K-12 teachers, administrators and school support staff; those who work at day care centers, early learning facilities and other sites that provide childcare; pregnant women; and people age 55 to 64 who have one of a dozen preexisting conditions. Those conditions include cancer, Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sickle cell disease, obesity and chronic kidney disease, among others.
“Although K-12 educators will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health has advised that Bossier Schools is no closer to obtaining the vaccine,” Bailes said. “We are actively exploring the best course of action for our employees in order to expedite them getting the much-anticipated vaccine.”
Caddo Schools are finalizing a distribution schedule, according to Director of Communications Mary Wood. While the district waits for word of vaccine availability, teachers have been encouraged teachers to also go to any available provider they are comfortable with.
“The priority is to make sure anyone who wants the vaccine has the ability to receive it.”
The Louisiana Department of Health says 1,909 new COVID-19 cases have been reported to the state since Friday, bringing the total number of cases reported to the state to 424,176. Another 26 deaths were also reported, bringing the statewide death toll from the coronavirus to 9,466.