Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected to ease distribution for small health departments


Authorized by the FDA on Saturday for emergency use, Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will not only add several million doses to the supply, but it could also ease distribution efforts.

“The storage is much easier. It doesn’t require the extreme temperatures we’ve seen with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” Dr. Ryan Stanton explained. “It is a one shot injection so we don’t have to worry about that follow up or second dose.”

The single-dose vaccine will make things easier for small distribution sites.

In Anderson County, the health department only has six full-time employees. Tim Wright, the public health director, says they can handle about 300 doses a week. With a two-dose vaccine, the workload doubles.

“Because if we’re getting 300 Moderna next week, then in 28 days we’re getting 300 boost doses, plus our prime doses. So we’re having to try to manage that a little bit,” he explained.

Wright says the county has already requested to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Even though studies show its less effective at preventing infections, it has still proven to save lives.

Dr. Stanton says any vaccine is better than no vaccine.

“All of these put together with the studies prevented 100% of the hospital admissions and 100% of deaths, which is just a game changer. Now it may not prevent all infections, but at least we know that they are preventing the bad outcomes from those infections,” Dr. Stanton said.

Johnson & Johnson is also studying if a second dose will be more effective.

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