Louisiana’s COVID-19 vaccinations surpass total cases since start of pandemic

The state is set to receive an increase in doses next week

Gov. John Bel Edwards received his COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 9 after emergency personnel were added to the COVID-19 vaccination priority list. (JC Canicosa/Louisiana Illuminator)

More Louisianans have been vaccinated for COVID-19 than have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began 11 months ago, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s a lot of different metrics to try to measure your progress, but that’s one I think is meaningful,” Edwards said.

As of Feb. 9, 448,122 Louisianans have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while the state has reported 414,354 new positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Right now, 1.2 million of the state’s 4.6 million population — 26 percent — qualify for immediate vaccination. Included in that list of Louisianans eligible for vaccinations are:

  • Persons 65 or older
  • Health care workers
  • Nursing home and long-term care residents and staff
  • Dialysis providers and patients
  • Law enforcement and other first responders
  • Some elections staff ahead of March and April elections
  • State and local emergency operations staff

Edwards, a few members of his cabinet, and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin qualify as emergency personnel and were included in the most recent vaccine prioritization group. They got their first vaccine doses shortly after the Tuesday press conference.

However, “demand exceeds supply,” of the vaccine, Edwards said. “The good news is supply is getting better.”

Louisiana received a 20 percent increase in vaccine doses this week at 70,850 total (29,250 Pfizer doses and 41,600 Moderna doses) — and is set to receive a five percent increase next week.

Edwards also reported 1,321 new cases and 1,122 current COVID-19 hospital patients, both of which are down after peaking last month.

Joe Kanter, the state’s chief medical officer, said he doesn’t believe the numbers are down because of the increased number of vaccinated Louisianans or recovered Louisianans who had COVID-19.

“The course of this virus is that it’s coming in waves, and clearly we had a wave over Christmas and New Year’s,” Kanter said. “Now, that’s going down.”