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Mass vaccination sites in Louisiana? Not until the supply increases

Places like New Orleans and Jefferson Parish say they're ready to host mass vaccination sites.

NEW ORLEANS — Across the country, some cities are opening mass COVID vaccination sites.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’d like to see similar scenes in his state, but there’s a key problem.

“The biggest hurdle we have is that the demand clearly, greatly exceeds the supply,” Edwards said Friday.

Los Angeles is one city where the effort to do mass vaccinations will soon begin. A drive-through clinic at Dodger Stadium will be able to vaccinate as many as 12,000 people a day once it’s fully operational.

But Louisiana has received 58,150 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each week recently, Edwards said.

He and Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the state’s Office of Public Health, expect that number to remain steady for the next four-to-five weeks.

Edwards describes the figure as "flat" given the demand.

Places like New Orleans and Jefferson Parish say they're ready to host mass vaccination sites. They could resemble mas testing sites that have been open since March.

Kanter said it's not a question of if mass vaccination sites need to open when possible.

“Once we have enough supply we're going to have to be firing on all cylinders,” he said. “We're going to have to be doing the big events and putting it into small clinics and pharmacies throughout the state.”

Edwards said trying to open mass vaccination sites right now would slow down the vaccination process.

He said that would require stockpiling doses to make sure each location was stocked enough, cutting off what supply of the vaccine there is for people who are eligible to receive it now.

So far, the state has administered 301,316 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 

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