Johnson & Johnson doses likely in Virginia on Friday, state’s vaccine tsar says


A healthcare worker holds vials containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign at the Klerksdorp Hospital on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WFXR) — Approximately 69,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson are slated to arrive in Virginia by the weekend, according to the Commonwealth’s top vaccine program official.

Dr. Danny Avula says the initial doses will head to mass vaccination sites, many with 1,000 people or more scheduled.

“I expect that starting this weekend, Friday, is when a lot of when we expect those deliveries to come in and those mass vaccination events will start—that will see a big uptick in vaccination happening from Friday through Monday of this week,” Dr. Avula said.

The news follows emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration to green-light the third approved vaccine in the United States.

On Tuesday, March 2, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Twitter more than 2 million Pfizer and Moderna doses have already been administered, averaging 47,000 a day.

Dr. Avula said, “hopefully by the last week of March we will really see 100,000-plus [Johnson & Johnson] doses coming to Virginia.”

While the newest vaccine is reportedly 66 to 70 percent effective in preventing serious disease–Pfizer and Moderna’s are said to be 95 percent effective – Dr. Avula says all three will save lines.

“100 percent preventative preventing hospitalization and death,” he said on the three authorized vaccines.

While the Commonwealth remains in its vaccination ‘Phase 1B,’ the new doses from Johnson & Johnson will help move up the timeline for people next in line.

“I think we can get 1b done by about the third week of April. So, we will have to start thinking about what the transition once he looks like,” Dr. Avula said.

“For example, if we are still scheduling 1b appointments and we’re only seeing about 80% of people taking the appointment then we need to start opening up to 1C.”

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said Johnson & Johnson, along with Merck, would collaborate resources to produce the J&J vaccine.

According to Dr. Avula, that means everyone who wants a shot will be able to receive “at least for a first dose” by the end of June.

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