New Orleans officials are urging people to get vaccinated as they race against the threat of new coronavirus variants.
There are enough vaccines available for everyone, but not enough people are getting them, Director of Communications Beau Tidwell said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Only about 34 percent of New Orleanians have gotten their first shot so far and about 19 percent are fully vaccinated. Everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.
“Please go and get vaccinated,” Tidwell said. “It is easy, it is free and it is critical for us to move forward.”
He said there have been a lot of no-shows for appointments at the mass vaccination site at the Convention Center.
"We want to meet people where they are. If there’s reluctance ... we’re going to try to address that in whatever way we can," Tidwell said. "We envision a time ultimately where we are literally going to be going door to door with shots in hand — ‘Have you had a shot? Would you like one?' "
“We’re hitting a point where those that have made an appointment, that want a vaccine, those people are getting shots,” he said. “Now the issue is: How do we get the remaining individuals?”
Vaccinations against COVID-19 are widely available. They are being offered at pharmacies, hospitals, mobile vaccination sites and a mass vaccination site at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
There is also a service through 311 that offers rides to those without transportation.
The percent positivity rate for coronavirus tests has been decreasing in Orleans Parish, with only 15 new cases on average per day.
But Tidwell said officials are worried about national trends indicating increased rates of transmission and he urged people to remain cautious during the Easter holiday.
Gov. John Bel Edwards will give an update on state mandates at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The city plans to release new guidelines later this week.