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Elderly people receive first doses of coronavirus vaccine at pharmacies around Baton Rouge

The Advocate


Pharmacist Carolyn Lancon was a small part of the effort to prove the safety and efficacy of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19, receiving a placebo version of the vaccine in September. Now, she’s administering some of the first approved doses of that same vaccine to members of the public at Bertrand’s Pharmacy in Gonzales.


“This is a good thing,” said Lancon, a 62-year-old from Baton Rouge. “These vaccines have been tested in a large, large number of people. … It gives me gratification to know that doing this is going to put an end to the pandemic.”


Lancon received her own, non-placebo dose of the Moderna vaccine Monday and vaccinated several people Tuesday morning.


Doyle Frederic, a 72-year-old retired postal worker from Gonzales, complimented Lancon’s needle work after he received his shot: “I didn’t even feel that.”


The phone lines at Bertrand’s have been overwhelmed since Gov. John Bel Edwards announced it would be one of the just 107 pharmacies across the state to receive 100 doses of the vaccine so they could begin administering it to people over the age of 70, as well as some groups vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus. Twenty-three of those pharmacies are in the Baton Rouge area.


Frederic managed to get an appointment when his wife, who is 69 and is not yet eligible to receive the vaccine under the governor’s mandate, quickly called Bertrand’s last week after seeing the news.


“I’ve got a little immune deficiency because I’ve got Crohn's disease, so I take the flu shot religiously every year,” Frederic said. “When this came out, I said if they want me to be the first in line, I’ll be the first in line.”


The beginning of vaccinations at pharmacies is an important step in a steady ramping up of the distribution of the vaccine in Louisiana and around Baton Rouge. It’s been less than a month since the first doses of the vaccine in Baton Rouge were administered Dec. 15 to frontline health care workers.


Those same workers received their required second dose of the vaccine Tuesday afternoon as elderly members of the public received their first dose at pharmacies around the state, according to a release from Ochsner.


The increase in vaccinations represents a promise of an end to the pandemic and an eventual return to normal life. Continue Reading