SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A third COVID-19 vaccine is now available from Johnson & Johnson, and shipments of up to 4 million doses began Monday.
It’s not clear yet how many doses are coming to Georgia — and then to the Coastal Health District (CHD), which covers eight counties.
“I do expect the Coastal Health District and Chatham County to receive some either later this week or early next week,” said CHD Director Dr. Lawton Davis. “And I hope so because we’re planning a campaign to offer it to educators based on the fact that it’s going to be here.”
Davis says CHD has provided thousands of shots to older persons that have qualified, but now the state says teachers (regardless of age) can and should be vaccinated.
Lawton says extra doses provided by Johnson & Johnson are important — not just in terms of supply — but also because the new vaccine requires just one shot, not two.
“If we’re able to able to vaccinate them with Johnson & Johnson, it’s a one-dose vaccine and it typically has fewer side effects,” said Davis. “So it should cut down on potential time lost from the classroom.”
Davis says they hope to offer a special clinic just for educators but can’t announce it until they know more about vaccine supplies moving forward.
He also says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be a huge boost to all populations in rural areas who need shots because it doesn’t need the “special” refrigeration.
“This vaccine is stored in a refrigerator instead of a freezer, and so it should be very amenable to being out in the more rural parts of the state that don’t have those high-tech freezers,” said Davis.
While a third vaccine is good news, Davis says nationwide and statewide, we are far from herd immunity in terms of how many people have been vaccinated at this point.
“I would continue to urge caution,” he said, advising you to wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance.
For more information on local vaccine appointments, visit wsav.com/vaccine.