Single-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Arrives in Northland

DULUTH, Minn.– Late last week, the FDA approved the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Giving the United States a third kind of vaccine as doses continue to be given out across the country.

Governor Tim Walz said vaccines were shipped off earlier this week and thousands of Minnesotans will be getting a shot of the new vaccine as soon as this weekend, including here in the Northland.

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived at both St. Luke’s and Essentia Wednesday.

“With things working the way they are, there’s every reason for us to be very, very optimistic,” said Walz.

St. Luke’s received their first shipment of 100 doses of vaccine. The small number was decided by the Minnesota Department of Health to give health care systems experience in handling the new vaccine.

“We’re thrilled to receive it,” said Mike Boeselager, St. Luke’s VP Support Services and Vaccine Coordination.

Shots will be given out on Saturday at their vaccination clinic in the former ER on First Street. Those at St. Luke’s say the extra doses will help ramp up their vaccination efforts.

“The faster that we can distribute that and get those vaccinations completed,” said Boeselager. “The faster that we can go on to other populations and more broader.”

Over at Essentia health, their healthcare system was given 2,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will be spread out to all of their facilities around the state.

“The vaccine, like the other two vaccines, is very, highly effective,” said Henry.

Because the vaccine only needs one shot, Essentia chief medical officer Peter Henry says it can be great for people mobility issues.

But the biggest contribution he says is that it doesn’t need to be stored in ultra-cold temps.

“That really makes the logistics of distribution of it much easier,” said Henry. “In essence, any place that historically has been able to give an influenza or a flu vaccine, should be able to provide this vaccine as well.”

Governor Walz was at a twin cities hospital when the first shipment the single-shot vaccine arrived there. Just some of the more than 45,200 doses the state received.

After laying out timeline that said every Minnesotan could get a shot by the summer, Walz says the extra doses will greatly speed up the process.

“It obviously accelerates our timeline,” said Walz. “We’re going to get to a point where we’re going to have plenty of vaccines. We need folks to get in and take it because we get to that 70 to 90 percent range, we get the herd immunity that we need that protects not only ourselves but our neighbors.”

Of course, as the weeks continue, the state and both hospitals are expecting the amount of vaccine to increase as the weeks go on from Johnson & Johnson, along with Pfizer and Moderna.

That increased supply, according to Walz, means he expects that Minnesota should be receiving well over 200,000 doses every week.

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