Slower J&J vaccine rollout could delay return to normal in NJ — Top News 2/17
The additional of a single dose COVID-19 vaccine is seen as the best shot to get things back to a semblance of normalcy this summer. It's also critical to the reopening of schools through the mass vaccination of teachers.
Demand for vaccine far outpaces availability, and Gov. Phil Murphy has often cited the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a "game changer." The vaccine requires only a single dose, can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures and has a longer shelf life. But there are indications of a much slower rollout than government officials have led us to believe.
Several unnamed state officials and health providers are telling CNN that a production miscommunication and stumbles by the new Biden administration will delay the J&J rollout by weeks or months.
President Joe Biden had said he anticipates 20-30 million doses by April and 100 million by June. That would go a long way toward New Jersey hitting the goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by Memorial Day. An administration official told CNN they expect fewer than 20 million initial doses this spring.
The J&J vaccine has still not been approved for emergency use. The FDA is due to meet by the end of the month and is likely to grant approval, even though the vaccine has a much lower efficacy than the Pfizer and Moderna two-shot regimen. The J&J vaccine has been shown to be 66% effective overall, compared to more than 90% for the existing vaccines. However, it is more than 80% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness.
Patience has been growing thin in New Jersey as tens of thousands of frustrated residents say they cannot secure vaccination appointments for even their most vulnerable family members. When CVS and Rite Aid announced they would be giving shots at select pharmacies, all available slots were filled in less than an hour. The pharmacy chains have not said when they will receive more vaccine and able to schedule new appointments.
The state's COVID-19 hotline has also had several hiccups since launch and has been unable to reliably schedule either first or second dose appointments.
More N.J. Top News:
- Man sets yard on fire trying to clear snow.
- Another winter storm is headed our way for Thursday.
- Listen to 911 calls: So many unanswered questions about a Parkway crash New Year's Day that killed two women.
- Biden promotes COVID relief package but it will not include forgiveness of college debt.
- New Jersey's COVID-19 metrics are trending in the wrong direction.
- Murphy emerges from quarantine wearing two masks. Still has not been vaccinated.
- A new study says "macho man" mentality is adding to the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
- Nearly three months after being charged with DWI, Springsteen is due in federal court.
- The Llegislature to study the impact of work-at-home on state's economy.
- State Police warn against new social security phone scam.
- As Catholics celebrate Ash Wednesday, things will look a little different for the faithful this year.
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