RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 83,000 of doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine arrived in North Carolina Wednesday.
Providers at hospitals and health departments said the one-stop shot could be a game-changer for vaccine rollout.
“This just opens up the world to vaccinating more people and getting us out of this pandemic,” said Chief Medical Officer at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Lisa Pickett.
The hospital system received 5,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Wednesday.
Pickett says they are still finalizing distribution plans, that the single dose drug will allow them to vaccinate more people, faster.
“Some people have a challenge getting back for that second vaccination, or people live out in the community where it’s harder for them to get here for one. We could bring the vaccine closer to them without special refrigeration. So that allows us to meet more people, more quickly,” she said.
Durham County received 1,400 doses which will be divided evenly into a larger event for private schools and events that target historically marginalized populations, according to a spokesperson.
About 5,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were delivered to Wake County’s health department Wednesday.
According to a spokesperson, a portion of that allocation will be transferred that to a group of approved providers to kick start the community vaccination programs.
The providers, such as doctors’ offices and pharmacies who have capacity and have already gone through the state’s vetting program, would get small amount of vaccine to help get them started, such as 50-100 doses.
UNC’s Friday Center in Chapel Hill expects to receive 3,600 doses this week to be used at special vaccination days for educators next week, a spokesperson said.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says they divided the 83,700 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine up between counties that have the capacity to host additional events to use it.
However, some health department say they’ve been told they won’t get doses of the newest vaccine until next month.
Bruce Robistow, the Halifax County Health Director, says people should not wait for the Johnson & Johnson shot to get vaccinated.
“I don’t care which one you get, get vaccinated at soon as possible,” he said.
Robistow says he’s already seeing the impact vaccine is having on the spread of COVID-19, along with people following the three W’s.
Halifax County had just one new case of COVID-19 reported Tuesday, according to Robistow.
“I’ve not seen numbers like this since before we started keeping record of this COVID19. I’m so excited. I’m over the moon, but none of it makes me want to get careless,” he said.