Alabama is to receive enough doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to fully immunize more than 40,000 people. The one-shot vaccine, which does not have to be kept in a freezer as do the other current vaccines, was approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday. The Alabama Department of Public Health in a press release Monday said the state is to receive 40,100 doses of the vaccine this week. ADPH doesn’t yet know how much of the new vaccine Alabama will receive, or when, however.
Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive officer, has said the company expects to deliver 100 million doses by June and up to a billion doses by the end of 2021, according to NPR.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said in a briefing Monday that 3.9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed to states this week, starting as early as Tuesday.
“I know that many Americans look forward to rolling up their sleeves with confidence as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is available to them,” Zients said. “We are working hard to get and distribute these vaccines to your communities.”
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be used to target a specific population, but will go through our normal allocation process of identifying providers that are next in line to receive vaccine,” ADPH said in the release. “The average weekly allocation of first doses received in Alabama will increase this week due to the Johnson & Johnson shipment.”
The FDA determined the vaccine to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. It’s been approved for use for those aged 18 and older.
“The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for COVID-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the United States,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, in a statement. “The FDA, through our open and transparent scientific review process, has now authorized three COVID-19 vaccines with the urgency called for during this pandemic, using the agency’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.”
ADPH, through the state’s providers and county health department, has administered 920,566 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which is 77 percent of the doses shipped to Alabama, according to ADPH’s dashboard.
An additional 80,047 doses have been administered in long-term care facilities statewide through a separate federal program.
At least 9,931 Alabamians have died from COVID-19, according to ADPH, and almost half a million have been infected by the disease. COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. reached 511,839 on Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.