Doctor says Acadiana faces ‘dangerous fall and winter’ if more people don’t get vaccinated

Coronavirus

LAFAYETTE. La. (KLFY) Louisiana is ranked 49th in the country in terms of vaccinations. The only state with fewer people vaccinated is Mississippi.

While Louisiana ranks among the lowest states with vaccinated residents, Acadiana is doing even worse.
Health officials say only 36% of people in Louisiana have been vaccinated.

In Acadiana, though, that number is even lower.

70% of people here are still unvaccinated.

Medical experts say if more people don’t get the vaccine soon, Acadiana is going to have a very dangerous fall and winter.

“Our vaccination rates are low. We’re one of the lowest states in the country, so when you compare us to other states, Texas is well ahead of where we are in vaccinations. Certainly, the northeast, the west coast, most states around the country are better vaccinated than Louisiana,” Regional Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski said. 

She says while Louisiana is ranked 49th in terms of vaccinations, Acadiana’s vaccinations rates are even lower than most of the state.

Only 30% of Acadiana is vaccinated.

“I think a lot of people don’t recognize that we don’t even have a third of the population in Acadiana vaccinated. So 2/3rds of our population are unvaccinated here in Acadiana,” Dr. Stefanski told News Ten. 

She says she believes that’s because of false information going around. 

“There’s a lot of false misinformation that is misleading people, and that is going to lead to continued increase in cases, hospitalizations, and poor outcomes for people. I don’t want to see that happen, especially when we have access to these safe, effective vaccines,” she added. 

She says the low vaccination rate in Acadiana is especially worrisome. She says unusually, hospitals are seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses leading to hospitalizations.

“That does not bode well for the fall and winter. If we continue to see those increases in respiratory illnesses leading to hospitalizations, emergency department visits, at the same time that we are all getting back together, people are not masking, and we have a low vaccination rate,” Dr. Stefanksi said. 

She says people who haven’t been vaccinated need to look ahead.

“There is a potential for a very bad fall and winter. We’re not trying to scare people. There’s no tactic behind saying that except that we always want people to have information and have good information. I think that’s information we all need to know is that there is a variant circulating that’s very contagious, and we need to do what we can to protect our health, our family’s health, and get vaccinated,” she said. 

Dr. Stefanski says you can find all three coronavirus vaccines here in Acadiana.

It’s available to anyone 12 years old and older at most pharmacies and doctor’s offices.

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