Delaware is expected to receive 8,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following its recommendation by a Centers for Disease Control panel Feb. 28 – a day after receiving U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval.
Officials said Delaware could receive 8,000 initial doses by the end of the week, although subsequent allocations of J&J are expected to be limited. And while vaccine supply to the state has increased recently, officials said, there is still not enough to meet the large demand.
“We are thrilled to be able to have access to a third safe and effective vaccine in our state,” said Gov. John Carney in a press release.
The Division of Public Health is still developing its plans to distribute the vaccine once received. In the meantime, DPH has released a position paper, reviewed by the State Ethics Advisory Group, regarding vaccine distribution. DPH will continue to offer all available vaccines equally to eligible populations, officials said, and not target any particular population for use of the J&J vaccine.
“DPH supports that the choice of a vaccine will be determined at the discretion of the individual or designee (e.g., employer, enrolled provider),” the report reads.
The J&J Janssen, Pfizer BioNTech, and Moderna vaccines are all 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and all similarly effective at preventing severe disease from COVID-19, officials said. The J&J Janssen vaccine is reported to be 85 percent effective in U.S. trials at preventing moderate to severe COVID disease, and it is 72 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection. The vaccine works by inserting a small piece of the coronavirus’s genetic material into a weakened version of a common cold virus called an adenovirus. The immune system responds by switching on the cells’ alarm systems to activate immune cells nearby. The immune cells then spot the intruder proteins of COVID-19 to fight the infection. The vaccine does not cause coronavirus disease in persons receiving the vaccine.
“Vaccination is a critical tool in bringing this unprecedented pandemic to an end, and I encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Having different types of vaccines available for use, especially ones with different storage and handling requirements and dosing recommendations, can offer more options and flexibility for vaccine providers. We remain committed to vaccinating as many eligible Delawareans, as quickly as possible.”
The J&J vaccine has similar storage requirements as Moderna, and is likely to be approved for use by individuals 18 and older, like Moderna as well. The potential side effects from the J&J vaccine are similar to those experienced by people who received the other two vaccines, with the most common being injection site pain, headache, fatigue, and body aches. J&J reported no serious side effects from the vaccine, and there were no deaths directly linked to the vaccine itself. The FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 vaccine for safety and effectiveness and any long-term or rare side effects. The J&J vaccine may not be used to complete the vaccine series for other vaccines.
Those with vaccine-related questions can contact the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 or email their questions to Vaccine@Delaware.gov. Individuals can also visit de.gov/covidvaccine for up-to-date information and Myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/ for vaccine-related data.