BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Trying to get more coronavirus vaccines in arms, Louisiana is using nearly half its first shipments of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to hold large walk-up and drive-thru immunization events at convention centers, sports stadiums and other community sites across the state.
The first of the vaccination events began Thursday at the New Orleans convention center, a baseball stadium in Metairie, the Lake Charles Civic Center and a network of health clinics in the New Orleans suburb of St. Tammany Parish.
“While COVID vaccine supply remains limited, we are excited to have enough vaccine to be able to begin holding mass vaccination events this week across the state and give residents another way to access the vaccine,” Health Secretary Courtney Phillips said in a statement.
The Louisiana Department of Health said 16,840 doses of the state’s first allocation of 37,900 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will be administered through the events, which are scheduled to continue through March 16. The largest allocations include 4,300 vaccinations planned Saturday at a Bossier City arena, and the 2,700 shots to be administered at the New Orleans convention center through Tuesday.
Other vaccination sites include the Monroe Civic Center, the Rayne Civic Center, the fairgrounds in New Iberia and a Lafayette recreation center.