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Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrives in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE - The race to the COVID-19 vaccine gains momentum, as Johnson and Johnson's doses are prepped for patients in Louisiana this week.

"This is a safe vaccine. It's a safe vaccine across a number of individuals," said Louisiana Department of Health's State Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter.

Nearly 38,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson's single shot vaccine have already reached Louisiana. The vaccines will be shipped out across all nine regions of the state.

This news comes just as the state reaches a significant milestone in the fight against the virus. More than a million doses have already been given to those who qualify.

"That's a substantial number. We're going to keep building on that," said Kanter.

But, the roll out of the new single-shot vaccine comes with a few challenges. Doctor Kanter says the state will not receive as many doses as they expected for the month of March.

"We were expecting to get more shipments of the J&J vaccines next week, but that's not going to happen. They'll be no shipments directly to the states next week and likely not the week after that. What we were told this morning is that there might not be additional shipments of the J&J vaccine until the end of this month," said Kanter.

It's a hurdle that the state is confident we'll overcome.

"We have met plenty of challenges before. This is just another small bump in the road, but we'll be ready to meet this one when we do get more supply," said Kanter.

Johnson and Johnson shipped about four million doses total, and is now trying to ramp up production.

Louisiana will get just over 102,330 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine next week.

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