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Large-scale vaccine rollout at Tulane

More than 5,000 doses were unloaded off the FedEx truck at the Tulane School of Medicine and not a moment was wasted.

NEW ORLEANS — Thousands of more people in the city began getting their coronavirus vaccines today, at a new large point of distribution site.

It's not open to the public at this time, but that is the future goal.

Tuesday afternoon the COVID vaccine rollout took a giant leap forward. More than 5,000 doses were unloaded off the FedEx truck at the Tulane School of Medicine and not a moment was wasted before the first doses were in the arms of medical professionals.

“As researchers, the reason we study COVID-19 in the laboratory, is ultimately to develop treatments to save lives and so I think it's important we set a good example and are first in line to get the vaccine,” said Tulane Microbiologist and Immunologist Dr. Lisa Morici.

“I believe it's safe and it's highly effective. It’s actually incredibly effective and I trust the panel of experts that agreed that this is the case,” said Tulane Microbiologist and Immunologist Dr. James McLachlan.

The MDs treating patients were vaccinated earlier at hospitals. Today those getting the vaccine are Tulane scientists, people who swab noses for tests, public health and social workers, front-line food service and custodial staff.

When asked what this means personally and emotionally to be at this point, the Executive Dean of the Tulane School of Medicine Dr. Patrick Delafontaine replied, “For us in the medical community, this is really the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He added that today is only the beginning. Next week their health professional colleagues at Xavier, including faculty, staff and graduate students will get vaccines at the Tulane downtown site. 

And in the next few weeks, the city and state will determine if it will become a public site. 

For now, he says more medical professionals are lining up as they see colleagues doing well with getting a vaccine.

“There has been misinformation and there's clearly hesitancy, but I think that we're moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Delafontaine.

And the hope is by late summer, or early fall, there is enough community immunity to beat the pandemic.

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