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Local health officials say access to new single dose vaccine could be a “game changer”

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine achieved emergency clearance from the FDA over the weekend.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 3:49 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Local health officials say if they are sent the newly cleared Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, it could be a game-changer for the push to get residents vaccinated.

The one-shot vaccine was given FDA clearance this past weekend, making it the first one-dose COVID-19 vaccine to hit the United States.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says 200,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines are on their way to Texas as of Monday.

Brazos County Vaccination Hub Chief Jim Stewart says this vaccine could change the game on how quickly and efficiently they could get through the 1B population and move on to more subgroups.

“We probably won’t be done with the 1B population until April,” said Stewart. “So, if we are able to give just one injection and move on, that would speed that up.”

As of Monday afternoon, Stewart says they have administered nearly 17,000 first doses in the last month. This week, the hub plans to administer 10,000 more doses. That includes 5,000 first doses and 5,000 second doses. This week is also the first time the hub will begin giving out second doses starting Wednesday afternoon.

The hub will feature an outdoor second-dose drive-thru starting Friday to limit the number of people in the Brazos Center building, and safely give out as many doses of the vaccine as possible.

St. Joseph Health Market Pharmacy Director Kimberly Feese says they received word from the state asking them to fill out forms about availability to give out this new vaccine. Feese says they applied to get doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They hope to have them here soon.

Feese says having access to a single-dose vaccine would help them get to more of the community quicker.

“We won’t have to worry about the state sending the second doses to us and keeping the schedules separate. I think it will make things a lot easier for everyone involved,” said Feese.

This Johnson & Johnson vaccine only needs to be kept in a refrigerator, as opposed to the extremely cold temperatures initially necessary for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Feese says this will help get vaccines to areas that previously couldn’t store them, giving more access to more communities.

According to DSHS, three FEMA sites in Texas will be receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday. Houston, Dallas, and Arlington will receive 24,000 doses.

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