NORFOLK, Va. - Virginia health officials expect to receive 69,000 doses of the newly FDA-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine beginning Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Department of General Services told News 3.
The single-dose vaccine requires normal refrigeration and is the third to be approved in the United States.
"The vaccine is also very effective - as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death," State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver told faith leaders during a forum on Tuesday morning.
Soon, VDH will begin listing the specific vaccine available clinics. People will know which clinic they're signing up for ahead of time. Some people may prefer the single dose. "It is true for some people it would be much easier to do just the single dose," said Oliver.
Dr. Danny Avula said late last week if someone decided not to attend a clinic offering Johnson & Johnson, they would remain in line. Last week, a local expert told News 3 people should get whichever vaccine they can.
Going forward, VDH will not be using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to target any specific group. While studies show the vaccine is as effective in preventing serious illness and death, Oliver said some may still have the impression it doesn't work as well. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is considered 72% effective in America in preventing moderate illness from COVID-19. Pfizer and Moderna are both 95% effective.
"There is that public narrative and I think for that reason, targeting any one particular community for getting Johnson & Johnson could be perceived as not a good thing," said Oliver.
VDH continues to rely on the faith community to spread the message that the vaccines are safe. "Then people in your congregation and community at-large that you serve will listen a lot more because of the trust they have in you," Oliver told the faith leaders.