Vaccine to prevent Coronavirus arrived in Washington Parish last week.
The newly developed vaccines are expected to eventually bring to a close a pandemic that has resulted in 318,000 deaths in the United States so far.
Among the first people to be vaccinated are employees of hospitals and other health workers. At Riverside Medical Center in Franklinton,, 31 staff members were vaccinated last Thursday. Hospital administrator Peter Sullivan said all RMC staff members will be offered the opportunity to be vaccinated as supplies arrive over the next few weeks.
By early January, the Louisiana Department of Health plans to have vaccinated most residents and employees of nursing homes in Louisiana, including those in Washington Parish.
Even with a round-the-clock manufacturing effort, it will still take time before the vaccine reaches the general population. It is expected that residents of Washington Parish will be offered the vaccine by late spring or early summer.
The precise method of distribution of vaccine to the general population is still being developed. However, as of now it appears likely that certain pharmacies will play a role in the vaccination effort. Many pharmacies now offer flu shots, pneumonia shots, and other vaccinations, and the Coronavirus vaccination program would be similar --- with one exception: The Coronavirus vaccine is administered in two doses. People getting it would need to return for a second shot. The vaccine will also be available at doctors’ offices, hospitals, and certain other health facilities.
As far as cost, the Centers for Disease Control reports that any vaccines paid for by taxpayer dollars will be distributed to citizens free of charge. There might be an administration fee for the facility that actual provides the shots, but in most cases this fee would be covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.