Oklahoma to receive 31,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week
Oklahoma expects to receive 31,500 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, the state’s Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed said Monday.
The doses, which don’t have to be kept at ultra-cold temperatures, will go to hospitals across the state, he said, including rural hospitals that weren’t able to keep vaccine inventory early in the rollout.
The doses also will go to county health departments, and some will be set aside to vaccinate home-bound seniors, Reed said.
“While this vaccine is a great opportunity for all Oklahomans, it also creates a lot of new opportunities for us in terms of vaccine storage and distribution,” he said.
The one-dose vaccine could be especially useful in reaching remote, rural areas where other vaccines may pose logistical challenges, as well as for vaccinating people who may have difficulty returning for a second dose, he said.
That includes people with health conditions that might limit their ability to travel, people without access to transportation, and people at homeless shelters, for example, state health officials said.
While it poses logistical advantages for certain groups, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a good option for any Oklahoman, Reed said.
“If you have the availability to get this, get it. This is great protection against COVID-19,” he said.
All three vaccines on the market — Johnson & Johnson’s, as well as the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that require two doses — offer great protection against COVID-19, he said.
State officials said people signing up for a vaccine through the state’s scheduling portal may be able to see what vaccines are being offered at a particular clinic, but they discouraged people from shopping around.
“Right now, we are trying to focus on those individuals that are at highest risk of a bad outcome for COVID-19,” Reed said. “I would hate for somebody that is at really high risk to put off an opportunity to get vaccinated because of the convenience of a one dose or the concern of getting two doses — whatever your motivation is. ... If you can find an appointment, get an appointment, get vaccinated.”