‘Vaccine tourists’ leaving Louisiana to get their doses in Mississippi

Photo: A vaccine being administered to someone sitting in a car.
Photo: A vaccine being administered to someone sitting in a car.(WVUE)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 2:48 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana expanded the list of who could get a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. That includes lowering the minimum age to 65.

But there are some people who are so desperate to get in line, they’re turning to online groups and even heading out of state for something officials are calling ‘vaccine tourism.’

‘Vaccine tourists are people who want to take advantage of another state’s vaccine requirements, like Mississippi.

In that state, anyone 16 to 64 years old can get a vaccine if they have a chronic health condition that puts them at high risk for COVID-19, and that list includes smokers.

But a few people from Louisiana are now looking out of the state, to see if they can get their hands on a vaccine.

“If I caught COVID, it’s pretty well been determined medically that it probably would’ve taken a miracle,” said 66-year-old Glenda Foster of Baton Rouge.

Foster has congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma and COPD.

She says she couldn’t wait any longer for Louisiana to lower it’s age requirements for the vaccine, so she went online and found an appointment in Mississippi where the age requirement was lower, and took a drive.

“And I actually captured an appointment in Monticello Mississippi for Wednesday, which was yesterday. Two hours from Baton Rouge, drove up, they don’t ask what state you are from, they just want to know how far you’d come. And I told them Baton Rouge, and they said well that’s a good ride,” said Foster.

58-year-old Maria Gallagher of Metairie has a similar story, she has a heart condition, and other co-morbidities like pre-diabetes.

“As soon as we filled out the questionnaire, we didn’t lie about anything. We said everything, we said where we lived, everything was on the up and up. And in the end when you finish answering questions, it pops up locations that are available. So it said Biloxi, so we hopped on that as soon as we could,” said Gallagher.

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