Like many other midwestern and southern US states, Louisiana has a notably low rate of vaccination against COVID-19 among its populace. As of Wednesday, Louisiana has only vaccinated about 37.5% of its populace, and as a result, delta variant coronavirus infections are surging. Local hospitals are starting to strain, with the largest hospital in the state, Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, admitting 32 new patients on Tuesday alone.
As cases increase, the reality of the pandemic is becoming clearer to the residents of Louisiana, which is why vaccination sites are beginning to see a much larger turnout. The Our Lady of the Lake Injection Clinic at Pennington has administered three times as many first-time shots of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines compared to June. Vaccinations are increasing across all age groups, with the average age of recipients around 35.
“I was kind of excited,” 15-year-old local Kate Wilson told CNN. “It’s something I have to do for me and my community. It’s a responsibility, so it’s exciting.”
“It kind of just happened so fast that he got admitted to the hospital, then he was on a ventilator,” 17-year-old Bethany Wilson said of her friend who caught the disease. “And now, he’s pulling through, he’s doing alright, he’s doing better. But it just scared me because he’s 19. He’s so young. And my brother’s 19.”
“We are no longer giving adequate care to anybody. These are the darkest days of the pandemic”
— Baton Rouge infectious-disease specialist Dr. Catherine O’Nealpic.twitter.com/aluwA6LgKe
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) August 3, 2021
“I don’t know as a parent, how I could live with myself if my son, if I didn’t get him vaccinated, he got it [Covid], and then something happened to him. I don’t know how I could live with myself,” local mother Erone Burchell said.
“Just hearing that you can get the shot and then still get it, still spread it. I was kind of thinking, ‘Well, what’s the point?’ But then when the Delta variant came out, it kind of urged me to want to get it more. And my family, too,” local Kaylan Merritt said.
Officials are hoping this upward trend continues, as their hospitals can’t take much more of a surge.