As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Louisiana, vaccines could soon be on the way for the LSU community.
Students and staff who would like to be inoculated could potentially receive the vaccine later in the spring, according to LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard.
“LSU has been working with the state to prepare for vaccinating the LSU community that wants to receive the vaccine and are looking at later in the spring as a possibility,” Ballard said.
Some members of the LSU community could get vaccinated as early as mid-January.
“We anticipate getting a batch next week for our public safety and health care related personnel,” Ballard said.
For the remainder of the LSU community, a specific date for receiving the vaccination has not yet been determined. The federal government is leaving the responsibility of the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the states and their local governments. This could potentially delay the vaccination of students and staff if Louisiana experiences logistical issues or other problems with handling the distribution of the vaccine.
So far, Louisiana has experienced difficulties with its vaccine rollout, citing a lack of doses from the federal government as the biggest issue. Still, the state increased its distribution of vaccines to the elderly and expanded the locations where vaccines are available from 107 to 209 locations in one week, according to the Associated Press.
Demand for vaccines still exceed the supply available, the Associated Press reported.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said that a significant portion of Louisiana residents could receive a vaccine by the spring.
It remains unclear whether LSU will make it a requirement or not.
"Administration is talking about vaccines but no decision has been made on if they'll be required yet," Ballard said.
Ballard said vaccines will be “encouraged” for members of the LSU community, according to an article in the Baton Rouge Business Report.
The University is enforcing precautions to help mitigate the spread amid students and employees in the spring semester until the vaccine becomes widely available.
In an email sent out Jan. 9, LSU announced a list of COVID-19 updates including “random sentinel testing” and “wastewater testing.”
“Every two weeks, a random sample of the student population will be required to get tested for COVID-19,” the email read.
Other safety measures will be taken as well to ensure the well-being of students and staff on campus.
“LSU will continue to monitor the wastewater on campus,” the email read. “This has proven to be one of the most effective tools in monitoring the spread of COVID-19.”
According to the LSU COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard on Jan. 13, there are a total of 159 total active positive cases on campus.