Gov. Reynolds receives Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Reynolds discussed the state’s plans for the J&J vaccine as the initial allotment arrives
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 12:11 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Reynolds, her husband and Iowa Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday during a press conference.

It comes as Iowa has started receiving its initial allotment of the J&J, single-dose, vaccine.

Reynolds stressed that the J&J vaccine should not be looked down on, and that Iowans should get the first vaccine available to them.

“Unfortunately some critics are suggesting that the J&J vaccine is somehow inferior to those from Pfizer and Moderna because its efficacy rate is lower,” Reynolds said. “This information is misleading and quite frankly, it’s irresponsible to position any vaccine as a less desirable option when it’s undergone the same rigorous clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy and has received approval by the FDA and the CDC, especially at a time when vaccination is paramount to our recovery and our supply continues to be limited.”

Reynolds received the J&J vaccine after wrapping up her remarks, saying she wanted to show Iowans that she wouldn’t ask them to do something she wouldn’t.

Dr. Patricia Winokur, Executive Dean of the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, said the J&J vaccine is exceptionally good at preventing severe cases of COVID-19 is close to 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization.

The state is expected to receive 25,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, with the allotment being distributed to Iowa’s essential workforce that has kept supply chains moving throughout the pandemic.

In total, the state plans to vaccinate nearly 160,000 employees who work or live in congregate settings at the 456 food processing, agriculture production, and manufacturing and distribution companies across Iowa. Vaccine clinics for these workers are expected to begin tomorrow. The remaining employees will receive the vaccine as more supply of the vaccine is received.

On Tuesday, the federal government said it would take a few weeks for the J&J vaccine to increase and normalize.

The J&J vaccine won’t be included in the state’s weekly allocation of vaccines next week, and the number of J&J vaccine doses the state does receive are expected to fluctuate throughout the month.

Drugmaker MERK announced a partnership to help produce more of the J&J vaccine to expand the supply available. The federal government expects to allocate 4 to 6 million doses of the J&J vaccine nationally each week, but that number could increase in April.

Find the latest information on COVID-19 vaccination in Iowa here

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