HELENA — The Lewis and Clark County Vaccine planning group are preparing to receive and distribute doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The county will be receiving a 500 doses allocation of the new single shot vaccine in the first week.
St. Peter's Health Clinical Pharmacy Manager Tom Richardson says the additions of a third vaccine will be a big benefit for increasing the vaccination rate locally.
“It speeds up efforts and certainly helps decrease some of the logistical things on the back end of trying to coordinate two doses,” said Richardson.
Nationally, there has been a lot of conversation about the efficacy rate of the Johnson and Johnson compared to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Although the Johnson and Johnson vaccine showed a lower efficacy rate than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for developing any COVID symptoms, during the entire trial there were no hospitalizations for individuals that had been vaccinated for longer than 28 days and no deaths were reported in the trial for those vaccinated.
“This vaccine is extremely effective. It prevents nearly all hospitalizations and all deaths associated with COVID-19 and that’s very similar to the other vaccines that we’ve been using here in the county, the Pfizer and the Moderna,” said Richardson.
Richardson says preventing hospitalization and deaths from the virus is the ultimate goal, and right now the best COVID-19 vaccine a person can get is simply the one that’s available to them.
The Lewis and Clark County Vaccine planning group will be meeting this week to determine the best use of their Johnson and Johnson vaccine allotment. Unlike the other two available vaccines, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine doesn’t require ultra cold temperatures for storage.
Richardson also believes the single-shot vaccine will be a great benefit for their mobile clinics and they won’t have to coordinate multiple vaccination events with those individuals.