NEW ORLEANS — The appointment number for the Convention Center vaccinations is 504-290-5200.
Nearly a thousand more people here are now vaccinated against COVID-19 after the mass vaccination site at the New Orleans Convention Center opened its doors to the first group to book appointments.
As a brass band played outside, some people danced before getting a COVID vaccination at the convention center. They say this occasion is the ultimate celebration.
“I love it. I love it man. I mean I live for life man, and I’m happy that I have opportunities to get this vaccine. I'm so excited because I'm very scared of the coronavirus,” said vaccination patient Aaron Williams.
A percussionist in the Soul Brass Band, Williams is also a music teacher and has been teaching virtually for a year now.
“But ain't nothing like the real thing. I would just love to be around them more,” said Kyle Sharamitaro, musician and music teacher.
He took a break from this gig to get a vaccine. His wife Katherine is a mental health counselor intern and she did too. It was emotional for the couple. Musicians work has mostly been cut off, and she worries about his safety at the few gigs he gets.
“Because he deserves this. We want to get back to work. I know you can play and be safe. This is so necessary,” said Katherine Sharamitaro to her husband. He answered, “I love you baby doll.”
Around 900 people were vaccinated Thursday. Because there are appointments, there's no lines or waiting. It only takes 25 minutes to go through. and that's including the 15-minute wait afterward where a physician monitors you for any reactions.
“Be in that number. Get your vaccine. It's important for people as individuals and it's important for the community. COVID-19 can be deadly and a vaccine can prevent that,” said the CEO of LCMC Health, which is one of the organizations running the vaccine site.
The convention center can handle 4,000 vaccines a day if they were to get that much vaccine supply. Like musicians, it is hoped that those who work in tourism will be vaccinated soon.
“Their intention is to get a lot of the hospitality workers inoculated. Certainly my employees here since they're on site will be included in those numbers,” said New Orleans Convention Center President Mike Sawaya.
As Kyle goes out to play in the band after his vaccine is done, he and his wife exchange words of affection. “Love you baby. I love you too. You're the best.”
And getting musicians and hospitality workers vaccinated will help the city’s culture get back on tract.
There are still appointments for this weekend. Some days they will have the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and on others the Pfizer one.
The appointment number is 504-290-5200.