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Doctors urge people to stop double booking COVID vaccine appointments



BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana state leaders and health professionals are urging people to refrain from double booking COVID vaccine appointments.

“I spoke with medical officers from hospitals all across the state of Louisiana last week about people who are making multiple appointments, then they’re going to the one that works best for them and they’ll either cancel the other one or won’t show up,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Hospital administrators around the state said it’s becoming a problem. What’s happening is people are reserving a time to get their COVID shot at one place, then going back and booking a second one somewhere else.

“Unfortunately, when people double book, that’s taking a slot from somebody that really needs it,” said Dr. Aldo Russo, regional medical director at Ochsner Health.

Dr. Russo said once a vaccine is drawn, you only have a very limited time to get it in somebody’s arm.

“Once we mix the vaccine, we have a period of time that we have to use it or otherwise, it’ll be wasted,” he added.

For the Pfizer vaccine, you have six hours but for the Moderna vaccine, you only have two hours. That’s why they are asking people to only make one appointment, so they can be prepared and limit the number of no-shows.

“Here in Baton Rouge, I believe Ochsner has vaccinated over 25,000 people and in-state, we’ve vaccinated almost 300,000. So, it’s a very significant endeavor and we want to make sure the vaccines we have available are used,” Russo explained.

If this continues, Russo said this could affect how soon we reach herd immunity.

“Even though we’re getting to the end of this, we’re not out of the woods yet,” he emphasized.

Russo is asking for people to keep practicing those mitigation measures, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, even if you are vaccinated.