BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will open its first Louisiana mass coronavirus vaccination site in Baton Rouge, capable of administering up to 3,000 shots a day, President Joe Biden’s administration announced Friday.
The site is expected to open April 16 at a business park about 5 miles away from the Louisiana Capitol, called the Bon Carre Business Center. People already can make appointments for the site.
Vaccine doses provided to the location will come directly from the federal government, separate from other doses the state receives and allocates to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other community vaccination locations.
The White House said the vaccination site in Louisiana’s most populated parish is easily accessible for some of the area’s most vulnerable residents, located near major highways, on the public bus route and large enough to support drive-thru lanes and walk-up vaccinations.
Gov. John Bel Edwards thanked Biden for approving the site, saying it “will result in even more Louisianans getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Louisiana is having difficulty persuading some of its adult residents to get vaccinated, even though shots are available to anyone age 16 and older. The state lags behind most of the nation in the number of vaccine doses administered per capita.
More than 1.3 million people in Louisiana — 29% of the state’s total population — have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to state health department data. More than 898,000 people have been fully immunized, nearly 20%. That’s far below the threshold that scientists say is needed to stop the uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.
Nine federally-run mass vaccination sites are already up and running across the country. In a news briefing Friday morning, officials with the White House COVID-19 Response Team announced Baton Rouge and Tulsa, Oklahoma will be the next to open.
Nations around the world set new records Thursday for COVID-19 deaths and new coronavirus infections, while the disease increased even in some countries that have kept the virus in check, according to the Associated Press.