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Pharmacies overwhelmed with calls as those 70+ can now get vaccinated

Many phone lines are still overwhelmed, but LDH still says calling pharmacies directly is the best way to make an appointment.

METAIRIE, La. — Monday, the Louisiana Dept. of Health released the list of pharmacies in Louisiana where eligible people can make appointments to get the coronavirus vaccine.

It’s a monumental day for lifelong New Orleanian, Maureen Weil.

“I’d like to live just a little bit longer and COVID is frightening," Weil said.

As a patient at UMC, the 79-year-old received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Monday morning.

“It didn’t hurt at all,” Weil said. “The medicine stung a little bit, but it’s no big deal.”

More than 100 pharmacies across Louisiana are receiving a limited number of doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

The vaccines will be available only for those in Phase 1B, Tier One:

  • People who are 70 years of age and above;
  • Home health services patients and staff;
  • Ambulatory/outpatient health care personnel;
  • Residents, students and staff of schools of allied health;
  • People being treated for end stage renal disease (patients on dialysis)

“It’s on the way,” said Eric Laborde, pharmacist at A-1 Pharmacy in Metairie.

LDH is asking people to call pharmacies directly to make an appointment stressing not arrive to a pharmacy in person, but with phone lines busy, many started showing up at pharmacies to get their names on the list.

“We’ve been getting calls nonstop,” Laborde said.

He's taking names until his batch of vaccines arrive any time now and he can start distributing them, hopefully Tuesday.

“It’s going to be 100 doses and that’s the first batch,” Laborde said. “We hope to do 10 appointments at a time.”

The first 100 or so people on each pharmacy’s individual list are guaranteed their second dose and Laborde is keeping a master list for the next batch of doses.

“If we get more, we’re going to call these people,” Laborde said.

As many now wait for a call for their first injection, Weil looks forward to Jan. 25 when she'll receive her second dose.

Weil said she’s looking forward to "being totally protected."

Many phone lines are still overwhelmed, but LDH still says calling pharmacies directly is the best way to make an appointment.

A list of pharmacies distributing the vaccine can be found here.

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