It’s the one shot ‘game changer’ that many in the Fresno County Department of Public Health have been waiting for.
But officials now say they’re not sure how much of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is coming into the county next week. Even after that, they say a possible issue with manufacturing is causing more delay.
“We won’t see any more (J&J vaccine) until March 23,” said Community Health Manager Joe Prado Tuesday afternoon.
As for who can expect to get the J&J vaccine?
“We won’t see any more (J&J vaccine) until March 23.”–Community Health Manager Joe Prado
“It’s going to be our mobile units,” said Prado. “It’s going to be our very targeted populations at this time.”
Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra says the calculus he’s operating by is to look for the populations that can most benefit from a single shot vaccine. He says those more at high risk of being lost to follow up for a second dose like the Pfizer and Moderna regimens are the best candidates for the J&J shot.
“Whether due to homelessness, or because they are just a migrating laborer, for example,” says Vohra.
Prado says the calculation for who will get the one-shot vaccine will be recalibrated once supplies start coming in on a more regular and abundant basis.
Meanwhile, the county received 32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week. 11,000 of those are for education workers and 15,000 are designated for food and ag workers. A total of 181,000 vaccine doses have been administered to date.
Improving COVID-19 Numbers
“The process of prediction would be a lot easier if we didn’t have these (COVID-19) variants.”–Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County interim health officer
The state’s ‘Blueprint for a Safer Economy’ dashboard was updated Tuesday to reflect a continued improvement in weekly COVID-19 numbers. Though not enough to move the county into the ‘red’ tier, the county appears on the cusp of breaking through soon.
The county’s case positivity rate improved to 6.0% from 6.6% a week ago.
The number of new daily cases per 100,000 population also improved to 14.0, down from 16.6 a week ago. To get into the red tier, the county needs to reduce new cases to 7.0 or less per 100,000.
GV Wire℠ asked Vohra if he believes the county will move to the less restrictive tier in the coming weeks.
“The process of prediction would be a lot easier if we didn’t have these (COVID-19) variants,” responded Vohra. He says in about a month the county should be able to run their own testing for variants. He’s also encouraging primary care providers to report any atypical COVID-19 cases to the county which could indicate one of the more transmissible variants in the community.
— Fresno Unified (@fresnounified) March 2, 2021
Enough Vaccine by End of May
President Joe Biden announced earlier Tuesday that every American that wants a vaccine should be able to get one by the end of May.
According to Statnews, the Biden administration had previously pledged to have enough vaccines to inoculate most adults — roughly 300 million people — by late summer.
The new announcement came on the heels of an agreement between the Biden administration and the drug maker Merck that will allow the company, which has a long history of vaccine development and manufacturing, to help produce Johnson & Johnson’s recently authorized one-dose vaccine. Johnson & Johnson has pledged that it will deliver 100 million doses of its shot in the first half of 2021.
GV Wire℠ asked Prado if he was confident there would be enough doses available for everyone in Fresno County who wants the vaccine to receive it by the end of May.
“I think that’s a reality in May,” said Prado.
Vohra couched the prediction a bit by saying many in the community still might have vaccine hesitancy which could prolong the pandemic.
“Hopefully that vaccine hesitancy will be something that we can tip just by giving people more information,” explained Vohra.