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Nursing homes in Terrebonne and Lafourche receive first round of vaccines

The Courier - 1/22/2021

Jan. 21—Nursing home residents and staff in Terrebonne and Lafourche have received the first round of coronavirus vaccines, officials said.

Over 5,000 Moderna vaccines have been administered so far at nursing home facilities across the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Mark Berger, Louisiana Nursing Home Association executive director, said nursing homes are in partnerships with Walgreens and CVS to administer the shots.

"LNHA and its member nursing facilities are eager for the COVID-19 vaccines to continue to be administered," Berger said. "LNHA strongly encourages all eligible residents and staff members to accept the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest opportunity as it has been shown to provide a great deal of protection against serious illness due to COVID-19. Our focus remains on protecting Louisiana's most vulnerable quickly and effectively during this pandemic."

As of Tuesday, 302 COVID-19 cases and 86 deaths were reported among Lafourche nursing home residents and 177 cases among staff. The virus has infected 236 nursing home residents in Terrebonne and claimed the lives of 61. There have been 158 cases reported among Terrebonne nursing home staff.

Administrating the vaccine is not an easy task but convincing people to take it has been another challenge, health officials said. About 22% of nursing home residents and staff nationwide have received the first of two necessary shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Chip Riggins, the regional administrator with the Louisiana Department of Health, said vaccine acceptance varies widely from facility to facility.

"Many are getting creative with how to encourage or even incentivize staff and patients to accept the offer of vaccine," Riggins said. "There have been no adverse reactions reported from that group and it is our hope that as many staff and residents will get vaccinated during this time when they are our priority because they are the highest of the high risk."

Meanwhile, Terrebonne General Medical Center began distributing vaccines Wednesday to residents 70 years or older in the community by appointment. Over 600 vaccines will be administered, officials said.

The main hurdle in rolling out the vaccines has been getting enough doses, said Terrebonne emergency preparedness director Earl Eues.

"All the nursing homes in the parish have received their first doses for those residents and staff members who wanted to get it," Eues said. "They all took the Moderna vaccines, so they have to wait 28 days to get their second doses. That's a vulnerable population so that's why it was put out front so that we could vaccinate them as quickly as possible. The biggest issue right now is the availability of the vaccine. That is the challenge with getting everybody vaccinated as quickly as possible. It's all dependent on that vaccine."

—Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.


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