Virus Outbreak US

A vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano on Wednesday at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. Missouri has received 50,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Missouri now has 50,000 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines that will be used primarily at mass vaccination sites as well as community health-care locations.

The St. Joseph vaccination clinic has not received any Johnson & Johnson doses in its 2,000-vaccine supply this week. The next regional mass vaccination site clinic will be in Bethany on March 6, and will include 2,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine.

Dave Dillon, spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is going to help increase the supply and the fact that it is a one-dose vaccine will make things easier logistically.

“If we can expand our ability to start getting those vaccinations in arms quickly and can do it through community-health providers more quickly and conveniently, that’s a big win,” Dillon said.

Dillon said the new vaccine will be delivered in fairly large portions, and the fact that doses were produced in advance was beneficial in getting them out quickly.

Although the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown slightly less efficacy than the Pfizer or Moderna versions, Dillon said any chance to get any one of the COVID vaccines helps the state reach herd immunity. He said health experts have provided information that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is good for keeping people from getting seriously sick.

“I think we’re going to see the ability of more Missourians in the next three weeks to a month able to get that protection increased dramatically,” Dillion said. “I’ve heard it put this way: the vaccine is the first time where we’ve been able to bring the fight to the virus as opposed to us protecting ourselves against it.”

The state of Missouri’s positivity rate for COVID-19 is below 4.5% and hospitalizations for the virus are down considerably. Dillon said this has changed the perspective for Missouri hospitals.

“It certainly has lightened the load in the hospital environment, but it has shifted our load towards not delivery of care for COVID, but now delivery of vaccines against COVID type of work,” Dillon said.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.

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