Mildred Lashover survived the 1918 Spanish flu as an infant and Hurricane Katrina as an adult.
Now, she’s hoping to survive the novel coronavirus in her old age.
One day after her 103rd birthday, she took her first major step in that direction.
Lashover, a native of Arabi, Louisiana, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, making her one of more than 267,000 people in the state who have at least begun the two-dose process.
Medical staff gathered in a small room in the vaccination clinic set up at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, where they sang “Happy Birthday” before administering the Pfizer vaccine.
Lashover received her first vaccine dose among another steady stream of patients that included her son, daughter, and daughter-in-law.
It marked a momentous occasion for Lashover, who moved from the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now splits time between her children in Baton Rouge and Hammond.
According to Ochsner, she has nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Lashover said she has been an Ochsner patient since her mid-20s, starting with Dr. Curtis Tyrone, one of the five founders of Ochsner. She said her secret to a long life has been “walking and being a hard worker.”
Ochsner Baton Rouge has provided more than 5,000 COVID-19 vaccinations locally and more than 60,000 statewide, according to a spokesperson. Between Jan. 4 and Feb. 6, Ochsner Baton Rouge has more than 24,000 appointment times setup for vaccines.
It has been more than a month since the state launched its vaccination process, which is expected to last well into the summer. Frontline hospital workers were the first to receive the vaccine when it was made available in December, followed by the residents and staff of nursing homes, emergency medical services employees, and firefighters.
The state expanded those that can begin receiving their first shots of the COVID-19 vaccine to Group 1B Tier One, a group that includes people 70 and older as well as additional healthcare workers.
To receive a vaccination, patients in Group 1B Tier One must have an appointment and meet the criteria as outlined by Louisiana Department of Health.
There are currently 298 vaccine providers across the state that are receiving very limited doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including nine in Livingston Parish.
The Louisiana Department of Health is coordinating the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort, which is expected to last until summer 2021. As more vaccines become available from the CDC, LDH officials have said more individuals and groups will be offered a vaccination.