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As La. grapples with winter weather, LDH says short delay in second COVID-19 shot is OK

Andrew Capps
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

As the state continues to reel from a massive wave of winter weather, Louisiana's Department of Health says residents can briefly delay getting their second COVID-19 vaccine shot without serious consequences.

More than 273,000 people in Louisiana have received just one shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, meaning they will need to get the necessary second shot for the vaccines to have their fullest effect.

But inclement weather across the state has impeded residents' ability to travel to their appointments and has caused vaccine delivery delays, according to LDH.

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Those second shots have been routinely scheduled 21 days after the first shot for the Pfizer variety and 28 days after the first shot for Moderna's vaccine. But LDH issued a release Thursday saying that second shots can be delayed as much as 42 days after the first shot is administered if absolutely necessary given the impact of this week's winter storm on the state's infrastructure.

"Just know, in a pinch, you can safely delay the second dose up to 42 days and likely longer after the first dose if need be, according to the CDC," the release states.

"The CDC guidance states that the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, but the shot will still be effective if there is a short delay in getting the second dose.

"There is no need to restart the vaccination series if the second dose must be delayed."

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Because the state is requiring appointments for all COVID-19 vaccinations, anyone who cannot make it to their second shot appointment because of unsafe conditions is urged to coordinate with their vaccine provider to reschedule.

Louisiana is expected to get a combined 74,250 COVID-19 vaccines for distribution this week, and next week the state's supply is expected to jump to more than 90,000 new doses as Louisiana moves from getting 29,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine each week up to 45,630 doses.

The vaccines are now available to more than 500 locations across the state, and anyone over 65 is eligible to be vaccinated. More than 1.1 million people in Louisiana currently qualify for the vaccines, according to LDH estimates.

A full list of locations is available online and a map of pharmacies with the COVID-19 vaccines across Louisiana is available here.

Follow Andrew Capps on Twitter or send an email to acapps@theadvertiser.com.