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How Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine could narrow equity gaps

All three COVID-19 vaccines obtainable in the USA will assist save lives and scale back hospitalizations. However the newly licensed Johnson & Johnson shot has some key benefits that experts say could assist make the vaccination marketing campaign extra equitable.

In contrast to the primary two vaccines, produced by Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be saved within the fridge and solely takes one shot to guard individuals from COVID-19. It could be despatched to neighborhood clinics, that are geared up to succeed in individuals in rural areas or who don’t have common contact with the well being system. As a result of it solely takes one dose, it could assist vaccinate individuals who is perhaps tough to succeed in twice, like individuals experiencing homelessness. Officers could additionally simply deliver it to individuals in jails and prisons. All of these teams are additionally at excessive threat of catching and changing into critically ailing with COVID-19.

“This vaccine could make it simpler to succeed in some disproportionately affected teams,” mentioned Sarah Oliver, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) at a vaccine advisory committee meeting this weekend. The committee’s COVID-19 vaccine working group felt that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will enhance vaccine equity within the US. Up to now, Black and Hispanic individuals in lots of states have been vaccinated at low charges, and communities hit hardest by the pandemic have been slowest to be vaccinated.

Mass vaccination websites have the services and personnel to deal with the Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines, which should be saved in freezers and require two doses. These huge websites are capable of get 1000’s of doses in arms every day however could be inaccessible to individuals who don’t have a automobile or simple type of transportation. The location in East Hartford, Connecticut, for instance, isn’t accessible by metropolis bus. Up to now, 82 p.c of the individuals getting vaccinated there are white. Solely round 30 percent of people that reside in East Hartford and Hartford are white.

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These websites additionally aren’t designed to succeed in or join with individuals who could also be reluctant to get vaccinated. “They’re not there to counsel you,” mentioned Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer for the Affiliation of State and Territorial Well being Officers, in an interview with The New York Times. “You go to get the shot, finish of story.”

Some states are already planning to make use of a few of their doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to succeed in teams which can be more durable to vaccinate. Washington state told CNBC it would use it to vaccinate individuals working within the fishing business, who reside in shared housing on ships. New York Metropolis plans to make use of it to vaccinate homebound seniors. “We’ll have nurses and different medical professionals go residence by residence to those that can not even go away their residence and ensure they’re secure,” Mayor Invoice de Blasio said throughout a press convention this month.

Doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine shall be restricted to begin. Slightly below 4 million doses are being despatched to states this week, and none shall be despatched subsequent week. The corporate says they are going to have a complete of 20 million doses obtainable by the tip of March.

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