State still lagging behind country in vaccinations

Louisiana continues to lag behind the rest of the country — except for Mississippi — in people who have taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, even after the state created a lottery to entice residents to get vaccinated.

According to data from the Mayo Clinic, Louisiana is 50th of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia with only 39 percent of the population having taken the first dose of a vaccine. Only Mississippi is lower, at 37.1 percent.

The slowdown in vaccinations is happening as the state sees infection rates beginning to rise in some areas. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide is also increasing for the first time in months, rising to rates last seen in March of this year.

Locally, parishes reported higher percent positive tests results as well. In Iberia Parish, the percent of positive tests rose from 4.8 percent to 6.9 percent. In St. Martin Parish, the percent positive test results rose from 5.6 percent to 9 percent, while in St. Mary the percentage rose from 6.3 percent to 7 percent.

When it comes to those residents who are fully vaccinated, the state does slightly better against some of its southern neighbors. Louisiana is 48th of 51 on the list, with 35.6 percent of its 4.7 million residents vaccinated. Only Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, in that order, have lower vaccination rates overall.

Still, those numbers show progress. Last week, Louisiana had only 35.1 percent of its population totally vaccinated. Those receiving one dose rose four tenths of a percent, from 38.6 percent.

In the Teche Area, the numbers are similar. Less than 30 percent of the population of Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes are fully vaccinated — 28.64 percent in Iberia, 28.72 percent in St. Martin and 29.14 percent in St. Mary.

More urban Lafayette Parish is at 33.68 percent fully vaccinated.

And only Orleans Parish has a majority of its citizens fully vaccinated. As of this week, the parish is at 50.12 percent vaccinated.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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