SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – LSU Health Shreveport says they are seeing healthy turnout so far for the Pfizer booster vaccine now that it is available for those who are immunocompromised or at high risk.
“We are seeing more folks coming in to get a booster dose, we expected that and prepared for that, we’ve expanded our capability, have a few extra lanes of traffic there in the facility,” said Dr. John Vanchiere, LSU Health Shreveport’s Director of Community Outreach, Testing and Vaccination for the Center of Emerging Viral Threats.
The booster became available Friday to Americans 65 and older and others vulnerable because of underlying health problems or where they work and live — once they’re six months past their last dose — after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky took the rare step of overruling the advice of her own expert panel to make more people eligible for the booster in hopes of keeping more people out of the hospital.
All three COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death despite the extra-contagious delta variant that caused cases to soar. But immunity against milder infection appears to wane months after the initial vaccination.
“Their level of protection is just beginning to wane,” Dr. Vanchiere said. “It’s not dropped a whole lot, but it has come down a few percentage points, maybe six or eight points from what it was the first two doses.”
Some of those who showed up to get the booster shot Tuesday at the former Chevyland dealership that is now the LSUHSC North Campus on Linwood Avenue said they believe it is necessary to get it as soon as possible.
“I know they’re not ready to die,” said Ellorise Mitchell. “I am 87 years old, and I feel like anything that is going to help me in my health, and help me to be here longer and other people to be here longer, I feel like you should do it.”
“I had two shots of the Pfizer, and then today I just received the booster shot,” said Nancy Harmon, who also pulled up to the drive-through location Tuesday, ready to roll up her sleeve.
LSU Health Shreveport says they will continue to offer vaccine and testing at the LSUHS North Campus location on Linwood Avenue through the end of September weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Individuals ages 12 and up are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those wanting to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15 are required to pre-register at www.lsuhs.edu. Minors under age 18 will need to have a parent present or provide a signed parental consent form to be vaccinated. Youth ages 12 to 17 may only receive the Pfizer vaccine, but those 18 years and up may receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
No appointments are needed for first or second doses of the vaccine. Individuals will be asked to provide ID and insurance information when they arrive at any LSUHS vaccination site. Those that are without insurance are still eligible to receive the vaccine. For a full schedule and to pre-register, go to the LSU Health Shreveport website at www.lsuhs.edu.
A third vaccine shot, or booster shot, is available at the LSUHS North Campus location only to eligible individuals that are immunocompromised or at high risk. Those who would like to receive a booster shot from LSU Health Shreveport and received your previous vaccinations from a different location, are asked to pre-register at www.lsuhs.edu/covid19/vaccine.
Those who have had the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine are asked to wait before getting the booster shot while the Center for Disease Control reviews the research.
“Wait for now,” Vanchiere suggests. “The CDC and the FDA said it’s okay to cross over between those. It is in certain situations. For instance, if you’ve gotten Moderna and you are about to go on a month’s trip to wherever, Europe, or the Middle East, or some other place, and you want to get a booster before you go, it’s okay to get a Pfizer dose.”
Frontline workers are considered high-priority, including teachers, nursing home workers, and health care providers, meaning they meet the necessary qualifications to get the Pfizer booster shot.