Minnesota waiting on more than 45,000 doses of J&J vaccine

Boxes of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are shown at the McKesson Corporation in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. Photo: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, Pool. Boxes of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are shown at the McKesson Corporation in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021.

The Associated Press
Updated: March 02, 2021 06:45 AM
Created: March 01, 2021 05:47 PM

Minnesota is expected to get 45,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, the Minnesota Department of Health told 5 EYEWITNESS News Monday.

A spokesperson for the department provided this statement: 

"More doses of safe and effective vaccine in the state means more people can get protected more quickly. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game-changer that will help us quickly provide immunity to even more Minnesotans. This vaccine is safe, virtually 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death in people 18 and older, and requires only one dose."

The Johnson & Johnson shot differs from those created by Pfizer and Moderna in several key ways: the vaccine can be stored in refrigerators instead of specialized freezers and is a one-dose vaccine.

More from KSTP.com: 

FDA issues emergency use authorization for one-dose J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Minnesota medical experts applaud FDA's emergency approval for J&J vaccine

State health officials have yet to say exactly how the new vaccine will affect the overall vaccination strategy in Minnesota.

In a media briefing on Feb. 24, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be given to 'particular populations not as likely to come back for a second dose.'

"In those situations in which we know certain populations will have greater difficulty returning for a second dose, this would be the perfect vaccine," Ehresmann said. 

The state expects to receive more guidance in the coming days from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which has been looking at the data from vaccine trials to refine their recommendations on how to use the available vaccines to vaccinate for the greatest impact. 

Health experts urge the public to get whatever shot is available, regardless of brand.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said 4 million doses of their vaccine will be shipped across the country this week, with 20 million available by the end of the month, 100 million expected by June and one billion available by the end of 2021.

"I don't believe that we have ever been able to produce that many doses of a vaccine, let alone any medicine, in that kind of time in history," Gorsky said. "So we're incredibly proud of what we've been able to do and couldn't be more excited."
 MDH said future allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for Minnesota have yet to be determined.

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