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Acadian Ambulance Service ready for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 5:55 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Louisiana Department of Health reported that more than 43,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to Tier 2 hospitals and first responders.

Acadian Ambulance Service said that once their distributer, Morris & Dickson, receives the vaccine, they will be sent out to Acadian to give to their employees. Acadian is expecting the vials to be distributed to their employees across the state by the end of the week.

Dr. Chuck Burnell, the Chief Medical Officer for Acadian, said they will administer the vaccine over two separate two week periods to prevent having a large number of employees call in sick in case they feel any side effect from the vaccine.

Dr. Burnell said they conducted an internal study that showed around 25 percent of their employees would be hesitant to take the vaccine because of unknown long term effects. He encourages Acadian workers to take the vaccine because they are constantly around those exposed to the virus.

“Part of the reason that EMS was given the highest priority is because we traverse so many health care settings,” Dr. Burnell said. “We are also in a tight space in the back of an ambulance with known COVID-19 victims.”

One in every nine people that Acadian transports are known to be positive for COVID-19, but that doesn’t include the ones that aren’t known.

Paul Fuselier, the Community and Governmental Relations Manager for Acadian, said that he will take the vaccine because it will not only keep him safe but those he comes in contact with as well.

“We want to protect our employees because they are the lifeblood of what we do, but we also need to protect the patients we come in contact with as well,” Fuselier said. “We also need to not take anything home to our family and loved ones as well.”

Moderna’s vaccination requires two doses to be taken 28 days apart, and Dr. Burnell said the plan is to have the Acadian employees vaccinated by the end of January.

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