John Bel Edwards plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine — but he doesn’t know when

The governor said he and his family will all be vaccinated eventually

By: - December 16, 2020 9:50 pm
John Bel Edwards Vaccine

In this photo from Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson, Governor John Bel Edwards discusses how the COVID-19 vaccine is administered with Dr. Mona Moghareh, a pharmacist at Ochsner. (Photo provided by Ochsner Health)

Gov. John Bel Edwards and his family will get the COVID-19 vaccine eventually, but he isn’t sure when that will happen yet. 

“All the members of my family are going to get it as soon as we are in the order of priority that’s being vaccinated,” Edwards said on his monthly call-in radio show Wednesday.

Edwards’ office said it would follow the recommendations that will come from Louisiana’s Office of Public Health about when the governor, 54, and other top state government officials should be considered for inoculation. Louisiana officials don’t expect the vaccine will be available to all state residents until summer.  

So far, when it comes to who will receive the state’s first doses of the vaccination, Louisiana has given priority to hospital employees, EMS workers, nursing home employees and nursing home residents.

 The initial batch of doses from Pfizer — estimated at 39,000 — arrived this week and went directly to hospitals to administer to staff. The Moderna vaccine — which the federal government is expected to approve shortly — is slated to go directly to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. 

The Edwards administration has not laid out in detail who might be next in line after these groups of people are cleared. Over 6,900 people have died of COVID-19 in Louisiana already, and the state is in the midst of its third surge of cases.

Like Edwards, several other governors are holding off on getting the COVID-19 vaccine until health care workers have been served. The leaders of Missouri, Washington, Utah, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Tennessee all told the Associated Press that they would wait to receive the vaccine.

There is at least one exception though. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was among the most prominent election officials in the country to receive the vaccine this week. He and some of his aides got the first shot in the two-shot protocol Monday. Justice said he was getting the vaccine to set an example for West Virginia residents — assuring them it was safe.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to get vaccinated next week. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife are scheduled to get vaccinated Friday. President Donald Trump has not announced when he might get vaccinated, according to national reports.

Initially, several top government aides who work with Trump and Pence were scheduled to be vaccinated this week alongside health care workers across the country, but the president nixed those plans, saying health care workers should be more of a priority, according to the Associated Press

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.