Covid-19 Resource Center

Reviewed 06/09/2021

As part of Pennington Biomedical's response to the global pandemic, this COVID-19 Resource Center has been created for you to stay informed about the Center’s reaction and operations during this unprecedented time.   Resources for participants, employees, researchers and the general public can be found in this center.  

Free Vaccine sites : or call 1-855-453-0774 to schedule a vaccine appointment.

News & Resources


Keep Summer Safe by Getting Your Children Vaccinated.  Bring your Questions to the Q&A with Experts
June 8, 2021

Register Now.  Only 36% of Louisiana's have received their first vaccination, second-to-last in the US as of June 8th*. 

vaccine a and q event


  • Easier lifestyle!  Once you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing more. 
  • All COVID-19 vaccines in the US have been shown to be safe and effective. 
  • The vaccine is an important tool to stop the pandemic including variants

Why not?

  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines can make you sick with COVID-19

Why wait? 


*The number vaccinated in the state is updated here  Click the tab above the table titled "Vaccination Information.


Gov. John Bel Edwards Follows Updated CDC Guidance and Removes Mask and Social Distancing Recommendations for Individuals Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
May 14, 2021

Daily life is returning to normal for many in Louisiana  as Gov. John Bel Edwards revises Louisiana's COVID-19 mask guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.  Following Centers for Disease Control recommendations, the Governor's  revised proclamation provides that "fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance except in certain limited situations."

The limited situations that still call for mask use and distancing detailed in Gov. Edwards' announcement include mass or public transit, health care facilities and correctional institutions. 

 "Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic,"  CDC website,  5/14/2021.

Read more here


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available to All Louisiana Residents Ages 12 and Above
May 13, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced today that Louisianans ages 12 and up can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  The recommendation follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actions on Wednesday and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization earlier this week. 

If you haven't been vaccinated yet, you can locate sites in Louisiana at the Department of Health website or call 1-855-453-0774 to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Read more here

Updated Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

April 14, 2021

The FDA and CDC are reviewing data involving six cases reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of a low level of platelets in the blood in combination with a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in individuals who had received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. One individual died. All cases occurred in females ranging in age from 18 through 48 years. In some of the reported cases of CVST, blood clots also involved large veins in the abdomen.

Out of an abundance of caution, the FDA and CDC are recommending a pause in the use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine while the FDA and CDC, including through its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices investigate these reports of serious adverse events.

Read more here including who is at risk for adverse events and what should health care providers look for in evaluating Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine recipients for the rare adverse events.

COVID-19 Vaccines: Things to know

March 2, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control has compiled a list of key facts and myth busters about the Covid-19 vaccines. It is frequently updated with the latest highlights that are scientifically verified and approved for distribution to the general public.

Read more here and here

These pages also offer a form you can use to sign up for email updates about COVID-19 that will come immediately and directly to your inbox.



Study to Tackle Barriers to COVID-19 Testing in Black Communities

November 30, 2020

Strategies to increase COVID-19 testing in underserved black communities, to be studied by Pennington Biomedical scientists via a federal grant announced today, will also help shape COVID-19 vaccine and treatment distribution plans to citizens living in vulnerable, high-risk neighborhoods. 

Baton Rouge area community partners including the Mayor President’s HealthyBR initiative and members of the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS) have joined the project to assist research implementation. They aim to strengthen the data on disparities in infection rates, COVID-19 testing patterns, disease progression and outcomes.

John Kirwan, Executive Director says “Getting these answers is urgent because we’re drawing ever closer to federal approval for COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution.” The study, named “Radx-UP,” is a $1.8 million NIH grant awarded to the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS), and Pennington Biomedical

Read more here


Helpful Resources

EPA List of Antimicrobial Products
CDC Coronavirus Information
LSU Coronavirus Updates & Information
Louisiana Department of Health - Defend Against COVID-19
Louisiana Governor’s Office Coronavirus Information
PAR Research Brief: "Tracking COVID-19 Benchmarks"


Why are those with Obesity at HIgher Risk for Severe COVID-19 Infection and Death? Top 5 FAQs:

The experts at Pennington Biomedical Research Center explain why and how obesity affects COVID-19 in this FAQ. “Thank you”, for these responses goes to Steven Heymsfield, MD, FTOS, former Executive Director of the Center; Eric Ravussin, PhD, Boyd Professor and Associate Executive Director of Clinical Science, and Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, FACSM, FTOS, Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences.

Inflammation that often accompanies obesity can cause the body to rev up the immune system response to any infection such as COVID-19.

Under normal circumstances, inflammation indicates that the immune system is fighting off infection by sending blood cells and other messengers to the injury. Once those cells show up to the injured tissue, you’ll notice swelling and you may see a reddish or “inflamed” color. Once the wound heals, the immune system backs off, swelling goes down and color returns to normal.

In people with obesity, the immune system may see fat that surrounds organs in the abdomen, also known as visceral fat, as a threat like a potential injury. So, the immune system is working overtime sending out blood cells and other chemicals every day, all day long, to attack damaged cells. This leads to chronic inflammation.

In the case of COVID-19, the immune system goes into even higher overdrive in a way that can cause a “cytokine storm” reaction. Cytokine molecules are part of a healthy immune system response, except when the number of molecules soars. Then immune cells may build so quickly that they crowd and break through the walls of an inflamed lung, as just one result. That’s when fluids will build up in the lung, making it hard to breathe and triggering the need for ventilator support.

Roughly 40 percent of U.S. adults have obesity, which helps explain why COVID-19 is having such a big impact on our healthcare system.

No. It gets worse. Impaired immune systems make an individual more susceptible to viral infections in general. One study shows that adults with obesity have twice the incidence of flu or flu-like illnesses despite being vaccinated.

Obesity is also often accompanied by other conditions that are risk factors for COVID-19 complications, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease like obstructive sleep apnea. Obesity is also often accompanied by other conditions that are risk factors for COVID-19 complications, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease like obstructive sleep apnea.

Those with severe or class III obesity which is defined as a BMI of 40 or higher. A person who is 5’9” and weighs 271 pounds has a BMI of 40. A person with severe obesity who requires hospitalization presents a greater challenge. He or she may need a special, bariatric hospital bed. Even hospitals with bariatric surgery units have a limited number of these beds. Other hospitals may not have any.

People with obesity and COVID-19 are more likely to need a ventilator. But intubations may be more difficult and require personnel with specialized training. Hospitals have been able to reduce mortality rates for some patients who need ventilators by placing the patients on their stomachs. This option may not be available for people with class III obesity because they, like pregnant women, may not do well in that position.

Obtaining an imaging diagnosis may also be more complicated because many imaging machines have weight limits.

A person with obesity carries excess chest and abdominal fat, and that extra weight puts pressure on their diaphragm, lungs, and chest cavity. This can lead to breathing problems and even lung damage. In simpler terms, a person with obesity can’t get enough oxygen. He or she can’t catch a (full) breath.

It’s also possible that the extra weight may damage the diaphragm muscles. The respiratory system of a person with obesity is already laboring at a disadvantage before the added distress of a COVID-19 infection. With the infection, their blood oxygen levels could drop to near-fatal levels or fatal levels without them knowing.

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Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even at home. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people outside your home. Avoid crowds and large gatherings.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces – tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc. – every day.
  • Exercise. Change your diet. Lifestyle changes, like a daily workout routine or a better diet, can help you stay healthy. Check out Pennington Biomedical’s YouTube page or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for quick tips on exercise and eating healthy.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 preventative behaviors we encourage you to review. A vaccine is not currently available for COVID-19 and everyday prevention measures are the most important steps we can take to safeguard everyone’s health.

We are asking you to make practicing appropriate hand hygiene a priority by:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly with soap* and water at frequent intervals throughout the day

Hand Washing Protocol CDC

Additional Recommended Steps You Can Take

  • Covering your coughs
  • Limiting close contact with others
  • Disinfecting shared common objects
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid touching other people or attending unnecessary social interactions and travel
  • Staying home if you suspect you are sick


Social Distancing Reduces Your Risk and Stops the Spread

One of the best ways to stay healthy and reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is called "social distancing."

If COVID-19 is spreading in your area, limiting close contact with all individuals outside your household will help reduce the spread in your community as well.

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms.

To Practice Social Distancing

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Why is social distancing so effective?

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. An infected person will cough, sneeze or talk and droplets from the mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.

For more on social distancing, including tips on how to visit the grocery store safely, and why to wear a mask in public, see the CDC website source here:

Wearing a Mask

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that everyone wear a mask in public. This will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and keep you healthier.

People with the virus, and even those without any symptoms or idea that they might be sick, can spread the virus. If they are wearing a mask, they are less likely to spread the virus to healthy individuals. Based on previous virus research with animals and humans, we also know that viral dose exposure affects the severity of an illness. A lower viral dose exposure gives the immune system a better chance of winning against the disease. Masks can help reduce your viral dose exposure to infected air droplets.

The CDC has also provided a “DIY Mask Tutorial” video here.