The administration of Governor John Bel Edwards has quietly added new groups of people to the next vaccine priority phase, prioritizing vaccines for clergy, veterinarians, and college and university faculty and staff.
The University of Louisiana System in an email to its faculty said the Louisiana Department of Health had added faculty and higher education staff members to the “Phase 1B Level 2” launch of the vaccine. Currently, the state is in “Phase 1B Level 1” and it is unclear when Edwards plans to move to the next level.
See Who’s Now Eligible for Coronavirus Vaccines in Louisiana: Teachers, Pregnant Women, and More
The email cited a memo from LDH dated February 18 that made two changes not announced by Edwards last week, when he reorganized the current pool of eligible people to add K-12 teachers and others. The memorandum said that clergy and “higher education faculty and staff institutes” were part of the next level of eligible individuals. Veterinarians and staff were also added.
An LDH spokesperson confirmed the move on Monday.
The state had already put “judicial personnel”, corrections and jailers officers, agricultural and food processing workers, veterinarians and staff, postal personnel and others in the next group in line.
The date that that group will receive the vaccine has not yet been announced.
Louisiana Extends Coronavirus Vaccine Eligibility to K-12 Teachers and Individuals with Health Issues
Edwards said last week that it would add K-12 and daycare teachers and staff, along with pregnant women and people ages 55 to 64 with a list of specific health conditions, to the current eligibility pool. People over 65 already had access to the vaccine.
Louisiana received more than 90,000 doses of vaccine this week, an increase from previous weeks that Edwards cited as a reason it was expanding priority groups. A host of interest groups, including state and federal judges, have lobbied the governor to prioritize themselves or their workers for immunizations.