Health expert: LA vaccination rate falls with COVID case numbers

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While COVID cases in Louisiana are dropping, so too are the number of vaccinations in the state.

According to State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter, parishes in the state are below 10% positivity, 11 parishes are between 5-10% positivity while 53 parishes are below 5%.

However, as Louisiana's case numbers trend downward, fewer people in the state are getting vaccinated.

Dr. Fred Lopez, Professor of Medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health New Orleans, tells WWL's Tommy Tucker that the downward slide in vaccinations needs to change.

“We are not where we want to be in terms of the percent in Louisiana who are vaccinated. Fifty-two percent, roughly, have had the vaccine series initiated at this date, and completed (vaccination) is around 47%, so still woefully low when we have an intervention that we know is so effective at preventing not just infections, but most importantly, at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.”

So if the COVID case numbers are dropping why continue to worry about vaccinations?

“Well, the numbers are dropping in part because of the efficacy of these vaccines. And if we look at the people who are not fully vaccinated, they still account for 83% of the cases, 76% of the deaths, and about 85% of all hospitalizations,” said Dr. Lopez. “So, those vaccines are continuing to make an impact. These vaccines are really everything we had hoped for.”

Dr. Lopez says unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19. And says the numbers reinforce the need to continue to promote the vaccine.

“If we can continue to push on these vaccines, we are going to continue to decrease the number of cases, the number of cases will translate into decreased transmissions, and that will result in decreased hospitalizations as well,” said Dr. Lopez. “So, keep getting vaccinated, keep encouraging people to get vaccinated. That really continues to be our most effective way at combatting the pandemic.”