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The J & J vaccine pause has had an effect on local clinics, but health care workers are pushing forward

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BATON ROUGE – There's still a big push this week to get more people vaccinated in Baton Rouge after the FDA and CDC recommended a halt in Johnson and Johnson vaccine use.

A FEMA-led drive through clinic is scheduled to open on Friday in the parking lot at Bon Carre. Thousands of vaccines will be available every day. Officials say they were already planning on using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the first couple of weeks.

“We just got our shipment in last week and we were planning to hold some pop up events, because it’s a one-time dose, but now we’re going to try to switch to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so that we don’t cause any patient safety issues,” said Rachael Kermis, a family medicine doctor at Baton Rouge General.

Many local health facilities are switching up the type of vaccine they’re going to use the next couple of days. CareSouth health care workers will provide the Moderna vaccine Friday at their Baton Rouge Clinic. They were originally planning to give out the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I was definitely shocked and of course it’s not the news that we want for something that was going to help compliance in getting the vaccine. A one time dose is pretty awesome, but I think it’s good the FDA is being as cautious as they are,” said Dr. Kermis.

This pause is not ideal, but Dr. Kermis says it’s a work in progress.

“Everything we do in medicine we are constantly changing, reading research and re-developing,” said Dr. Kermis.

Regardless, she says the effort to eliminate COVID-19 remains the same.

“Please don’t give up on the vaccines,” said Dr. Kermis.

Baton Rouge General received their first allocation of 1,000 Johnson and Johnson doses last week, but did not administer any of them yet.

Ochsner Health administered 1,327 doses of J&J. A spokesperson says it’s been over three weeks since the last time they administered a J&J shot, which is the window LHA recommends patients should closely watch for any potential symptoms.

Our Lady of the Lake did not get back to WBRZ on how many J&J shots were administered there.

LSU cancelled all J&J appointments that were scheduled Thursday.


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