• COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

Get the latest information from Ochsner LSU Health on what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Latest Update on COVID-19 Vaccine: Jan. 20, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine supply is a national concern and Ochsner LSU Health's vaccine shipments remain variable week to week.

Due to the limited vaccine supply, we will no longer be able to schedule new appointments for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines and some scheduled appointments will be impacted.

Patients with first-dose appointments scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 – Monday, Jan. 25 will receive a notification from Ochsner LSU Health via text, MyChart or email if their appointment is postponed and will have priority access to reschedule once we receive additional vaccines.

Patients who have received their first dose are GUARANTEED their second dose regardless of date and should keep their vaccine appointments. This appointment must remain on the schedule as previously scheduled and cannot be moved to a different day, time or location.

We understand that our community members are eager to receive the vaccine and acknowledge this news is disappointing. Rest assured, Ochsner LSU Health is working quickly and diligently to be able to administer as many vaccines as possible once we receive additional inventory. We will open additional vaccination appointments as we receive more vaccine from the state of Louisiana.

We encourage community members to visit this webpage for updates on scheduling availability or sign up for our weekly vaccine update email at ochsner.org/covidvaccine.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your ongoing interest and patience.

We appreciate your willingness to be part of the solution as we work together to end this pandemic. Please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, maintain good hand hygiene and avoid gathering with individuals outside of your household.

Clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines are still continuing.

Learn more about the vaccine trials.

Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine Phase 1B Questions

  • On Monday, January 4, the state expanded access COVID-19 vaccinations to phase 1B which includes people age 70 and older, patients who are on dialysis, ambulatory healthcare workers, and schools of allied health employees and faculty.
  • Vaccine quantities are still limited, but we are encouraged by this step and excited to begin vaccinating patients who are eligible.
  • Scheduling is available across Ochsner Health for this group only who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at designated Ochsner locations and retail pharmacies on a first come, first serve limited basis.
  • Ochsner LSU Health patients can schedule their vaccinations via MyChart. Non-Ochsner LSU Health patients who meet these criteria can schedule vaccine appointments by calling 318-626-0050, option 0 or 1-844-888-2772.
  • Those who are eligible will be required to attest that they meet the criteria and may be asked to provide proof if asked. A full list of the criteria can be found at covidvaccine.la.gov.
  • At this time our vaccine shipments remain variable, but it is our goal with each shipment to quickly and efficiently offer the vaccine to the tiered groups outlined by the CDC and the state.
  • There is an estimated 485,000 people above the age of 70 in Louisiana. We understand there is great community demand and we appreciate your understanding as we reach out to all eligible patients over the coming weeks.
  • This will help towards the national goal to end to this pandemic.
  • For those who meet the Phase 1B criteria, scheduling is available across Ochsner LSU Health for those who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at designated locations and retail pharmacies on a first come, first serve limited basis. Ochsner patients can schedule their vaccinations via MyChart.
  • If you do not have a MyChart account, we encourage you to enroll at ochsnerlsuhs.org/mychart. This is a secure portal that allows patients to view test results, message their providers and schedule appointments at the click of a button.
  • Additionally, non-Ochsner LSU Health patients or Ochsner LSU Health patients who do not have a MyChart account, but meet these criteria, can schedule vaccine appointments by calling 318-626-0050, option 0 or 1-844-888-2772. Those who are eligible will be required to attest that they meet the criteria and may be asked to provide proof if asked. A full list of the criteria can be found at covidvaccine.la.gov.
  • Patients who fall into phase 1B may not be contacted immediately as quantities of the vaccine are still limited.
  • More times and dates will become available as we receive more vaccine on a weekly basis. We encourage you to continue to check MyChart as more appointments become available and appreciate your patience during this process.
  • Unfortunately, as anxious as we are to vaccinate as many patients as possible, we are unable to accept walk-ins at this time.
  • Due to increased activity, patients may experience slower performance or longer wait times when using the MyChart website or COVID hotline. We are working diligently to solve these issues and appreciate your patience as you try and schedule your COVID-19 vaccination.
  • We appreciate your willingness to be part of the solution to end this pandemic.
  • Vaccine quantities continue to be extremely limited. We are working diligently to expand access to all citizens of our communities. We are committed to vaccinating as many people as safely and quickly as possible.
  • There are designated Ochsner retail locations across the state that are currently offering vaccines to non-Ochsner patients who meet the Phase 1B criteria on a first come, first serve limited basis.
  • The list of these locations are included in the approximately 100 local pharmacies across the state identified by the Louisiana Department of Health and can be found at covidvaccine.la.gov and appointments can be made by calling 318-626-0050, option 0 or 1-844-888-2772.
  • Vaccines are available on a limited basis and there is currently a wait time.
  • You must have an appointment and meet the criteria to receive the vaccine.
  • Unfortunately, as anxious as we are to vaccinate as many patients as possible, we are unable to accept walk-ins at this time.
  • We plan to expand our ability to vaccinate more community members following the guidelines set forth by the CDC, state and Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) as more supply becomes available.
  • We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to achieve this goal.
  • Due to the complex storage and limited time constraints with the COVID-19 vaccine, we want to ensure we are efficiently utilizing to avoid any waste.
  • Therefore, patients must have a scheduled appointment at the designated location assigned to you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, as anxious as we are to vaccinate as many patients as possible, we are unable to accept walk-ins at this time.
  • We are committed to upholding the CDC and state’s tiered structure which now currently includes people age 70 and older, patients who are on dialysis, ambulatory healthcare workers, and schools of allied health employees and faculty.
  • We are hopeful that the vaccine will be available to more members of the public soon.
  • We encourage community members and patients to sign up for our weekly vaccine email at Ochsner.org/covidvaccine, or to visit Ochsner.org/vaccine or covidvaccine.la.gov for the latest information and resources.
  • Ochsner will communicate directly with eligible patients as vaccines become available to them.

We look forward, under guidance of the CDC, state and LDH, to the day when we can offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all members of our community.

  • Following guidelines from the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine as there are no medical contraindications except for a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its components.
  • Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, MyOchsner will automatically schedule the second dose at the same location with the appropriate length of time (21 or 28 days depending on which vaccine you receive) between visits. You must be able to attend the second appointment in order to schedule the first.
  • Thank you for your inquiry regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. We are currently offering the vaccine to Ochsner patients who are ages 70 and older and patients who are currently receiving dialysis, regardless of which state they live in.
  • Patients will be contacted via email or text message with details on how and when to schedule their vaccination appointments.
  • Scheduling will be available via MyChart. If you do not have a MyChart account, we encourage you to enroll at ochsnerlsuhs.org/mychart. This is a secure portal that allows patients to view test results, message their providers and schedule appointments at the click of a button.
  • Patients who fall into phase 1B may not be contacted immediately as quantities of the vaccine are still limited.
  • More times and dates will become available as we receive more vaccine on a weekly basis. We encourage you to continue to check MyChart as more appointments become available and appreciate your patience during this process.

Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization and Distribution Questions

  • Vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after rigorous and extensive development in laboratories, as well as pre-clinical animal studies and testing on human volunteers, to ensure they are safe and effective.
  • Monitoring of the vaccine and how it’s produced, including regular facility inspections, must continue for as long as the manufacturer holds a license for the vaccine.
  • Additionally, the drug sponsor follows a multi-layered approval process, which includes an investigational new drug application, clinical trials and presentation of data to a special FDA advisory committee.
  • During a public health emergency, an EUA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make a product available to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases.
  • The FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have assured the public that no safety or efficacy evaluation steps would be skipped in approving the vaccine.
  • An emergency authorization functions like a temporary approval for the duration of the emergency or until the FDA grants approval. To win full FDA approval for a New Drug Application, the pharmaceutical sponsor will have to submit additional research to fully define the drug's safety and benefit for patients.
  • Ochsner is carefully monitoring availability of the COVID-19 vaccines. We will be ready to deploy to our frontline workers, essential personnel and members of our highest-risk community once an FDA-evaluated vaccine is made available which will probably be in December 2020.
  • The state of Louisiana is in charge of allocating the vaccines, so we do not know how many we will receive at this time. We are in close contact with the state, and we are operationally prepared to support as many doses as we receive
  • Ochsner Health will offer vaccinations at regional hubs and hospital sites across the state. The goal is to make it as convenient as possible for our employees and our patients to receive the vaccine.
  • You do not need to take a COVID-19 test prior to receiving the vaccine. If you are COVID-19 positive, then it is recommended that you follow the CDC guidelines and isolate for 10 days to limit exposure to others. Once you are out of isolation, you are able to receive the vaccine
  • There will be no direct cost to employees or patients at this time.

Vaccine Safety, Effectiveness and Side Effects

What is the difference between each vaccine?

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are two shots – one shot followed by a booster either 21 or 28 days depending on the vaccine. Both use mRNA, or messenger RNA, which gives cells instructions to create a protein like the SAR-CoV2 protein. Once the protein is created, it triggers the immune response leading to the production of antibodies.
  • The Janssen and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccines use one shot. Both utilize the adenoviruses which is the same viruses that can cause the common cold. These inactivated/non-infective adenoviruses can be used to deliver DNA, which are instructions for proteins. For the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers swap in a gene from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) so that the modified cold virus makes the SARS-CoV2 protein, stimulating production of antibodies and additional immune responses to fight off the virus. The process creates an immune memory, which ultimately teaches the body to both recognize and attack the virus.
  • Current data from COVID-19 vaccine trials that have been released supports the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. There have been no significant safety concerns for either the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine which are the two vaccines we anticipate will get EUA by end of the year. Over 37,0000 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine during the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials with no significant side effects. The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks of not being immunized
  • Most commonly used in clinical trials, vaccine efficacy is a percentage measured by calculating the risk of disease among vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.
  • For example, vaccine efficacy of 90% means a 90% reduction from the number of cases you would expect if they have not been vaccinated.
  • Vaccine effectiveness is different and shows the ability of vaccine to prevent outcomes of interest in the “real world.”
  • Each trial sponsor needs to review to see if any such potential process and amendment to the original protocol (where participants stay blinded for the 24-month duration of the study) would be subject to the input of the regulatory authorities.
  • If you are currently a participant in one of the Ochsner vaccine trials, please contact your study staff for more information.
  • No, the current vaccine trials will continue for the intended duration which for most trials is 24 months.
  • Additionally, we will see more trials for new vaccines and new targeted populations and these new potential trials will need research participants.
  • With more than 7 billion people in the world, more trials are needed to help vaccinate the entire world.
  • No COVID-19 vaccine trial has been canceled. Two trials were paused which is normal for all clinical trials to take a closer look at symptoms participants develop to see if there are possible side effects. Sometimes the symptoms have nothing to do with the actual product. This process is in place to ensure that any product brought to the public is as safe as possible. Both trials that were paused were resumed once an independent safety monitoring board deemed the side effects not related to the vaccine.
  • Ochsner Health fully supports and highly encourages widespread vaccination under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for all employees and our patients. Ochsner will only recommend and administer vaccines that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified as safe and effective for all patients and employees, including our most vulnerable populations. Ochsner’s contributions to the vaccine trials have helped illustrate their safety to the FDA. Large scale vaccination of our community is the best way to keep everyone safe and to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Since this is a novel virus, we are still unsure how long the vaccine antibodies will last. We are closely monitoring the research as more data becomes available.
  • Similar to the flu shot, the vaccine is administered into a large muscle in the upper arm or thigh. Like with any vaccine, allergic reactions may occur. Some may experience mild fever, soreness, muscle aches, redness and/or swelling at the site of administration. These are signs of an immune response to the vaccine and expected in some patients.
  • Contact your Health Care provider should you feel ill or experience an adverse effect discussed prior to your COVID-19 vaccination. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.
  • Yes, there are no restrictions in receiving your flu shot around the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, Ochsner recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get a flu shot.
  • The vaccine cannot cause you to test positive via nasal swab or saliva test. This is not a live vaccine and will not cause you to shed virus.
  • Some patients may still become infected or develop symptoms following vaccination against COVID-19. However, the current vaccines under consideration all have greater than 90% efficacy of preventing you from getting infected. They also have demonstrated that your risk of a severe infection that requires you to be hospitalized is greatly reduced following immunization.
  • That is the intent. Instead of traditional vaccines, which may use the virus itself, the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will use a protein on the outside of the virus. This means the vaccine can’t cause COVID-19 in a person, because it’s not using the virus that causes the disease.
  • This stimulates your body’s immune system to mount a response as if it were a true infection, minimizing your risk of infection or disease burden should you encounter the same virus later. The current vaccine candidates have been demonstrated to be over 90% effective in preventing you from developing symptomatic infection from COVID-19.
  • However, in order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the immunization, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
  • No, there are no restrictions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, but you should continue to wear your mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene.
  • Yes. Until we reach herd immunity and the majority of the United States has been vaccinated, we will need to continue to practice social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks. These are the best ways to reduce your chance of being exposed to or spreading the virus until we end this pandemic.
  • Yes. There is not enough information currently available to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. In order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the immunization, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.
  • No deferral is necessary for whole blood or platelet donors who received non-replicating, inactivated or RNA-based vaccines or the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
  • No. The FDA does not feel that it would be acceptable for these individuals to donate CCP. This is because it is not known yet if the CCP would be efficacious from a vaccinated person.

Different Types of Vaccines Questions

  • It is not uncommon to have multiple pharmaceutical manufacturers produce and distribute a vaccine against the same preventable disease. In fact, numerous vaccines, such as those for influenza and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) are well-known and common vaccines who use several different manufacturers for vaccine development and distribution.
  • The series and dosing for each vaccine is based on the initial results from the clinical trial data. Just because some vaccines may have one shot vs two, doesn’t mean that one is less effective than the other.
  • To best maximize the efficacy of the vaccine and to ensure an optimal effectiveness, it is highly recommended that you receive the second dose within the specified timeframe as directed by the manufacturer. If you don’t receive the second shot, you will greatly decrease the chance of the vaccine working.

Vulnerable Populations

  • COVID-19 vaccination may not be for everyone. If you are unsure if you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please call your healthcare provider to discuss the possible benefits and risks.
  • Following guidelines from the FDA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine, even patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The only medical contraindications to receiving this vaccine are severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or severe allergic reaction to components of this vaccine. If you have an individual question regarding a medical condition, you can contact us at vaccine@ochsner.org.
  • Currently, there are a few trials that are enrolling various age groups including children ages 12 or greater.
  • Just like the adult COVID-19 vaccine trials, data from children and adolescent COVID-19 vaccine trials will need to support the safety and efficacy of the vaccines before approval for the population.
  • Ochsner will only recommend and administer vaccines that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified as safe and effective for all patients and employees, including our most vulnerable populations. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of forgoing immunization.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine

Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is always ready to provide the high-quality care you deserve!