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Walker's Scott Bull, left, gets a shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from La. Army National Guard Spc. Jazshynikea Hibbler, left, during a mass vaccination event held at LSU's Tiger Stadium, in a partnership with the La. Dept. of Health, the La. National Guard and LSU, Sunday, March 14, 2021. It was expected that 800 doses would be administered by appointment, said La. National Guard Lt. Col. Dorrie Staal, Deputy Commander of Task Force Vaccine.

Louisiana, along with the rest of the country, will receive significantly fewer doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week. 

The state's allocation will fall from 67,700 doses this week down to 8,000 doses next week — an 88% drop, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The nationwide shortage comes after nearly 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine were thrown out following a mix-up in ingredients at a manufacturing plant in Baltimore. The error did not effect doses already delivered. 

Demand for the vaccine has waned in Louisiana in recent weeks, even after eligibility was expanded to include anyone 16 and older. The existing glut in doses will likely soften the impact of the Johnson & Johnson drop, though the convenience of the one-shot vaccine has made it easier to inoculate harder-to-reach populations, like rural residents or prisoners. 

Dr. David Holcombe, who heads up the public health region centered in Alexandria, said they expect their weekly doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to drop down from 4,000 to just 400 next week. At the Rapides Parish Coliseum last week, they were giving out 500 of the one-shot doses a day.

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Still, Holcombe said they've sent a "considerable" amount of Moderna vaccines back to the state for redistribution after it was clear the demand wasn't there. 

“It’s starting to take more and more resources to reach fewer and fewer people,” Holcombe said. “We're reaching a saturation point almost across the entire state.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to hold his weekly press conference Thursday at 2:30 p.m. where he's expected to provide updates on the coronavirus pandemic and the state's vaccine rollout.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates. 


Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater