Home FEATURED Editorial: Welcome medicine: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could make vaccinations much simpler

Editorial: Welcome medicine: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could make vaccinations much simpler

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Daily News Editorial Board
New York Daily News

This weekend marked another step in defeating COVID-19 as the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, giving America 100 million additional doses by this summer, another wonderful life-saving weapon against the deadly virus. Coming a day after President Joe Biden celebrated the 50 millionth shot jabbed in an arm, victory seems near.

On the two principal goals, avoiding COVID hospitalizations and deaths, studies show that J&J is batting a thousand. If you have a chance to get a shot, take it. The same goes for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines.

Besides adding a third option to our arsenal, the J&J vaccine is much more convenient than the other two. It is a single dose, and doesn’t require ultra-cold storage, making it much easier to handle than the Moderna and Pfizer shots. Those both require two shots, administered weeks apart, to be fully effective. Pfizer’s ultra-cold storage requirements, which the FDA relaxed last week, limited where shots could be kept and used, restricting distribution sites to places like hospitals with costly refrigerators capable of maintaining the negative 70 degrees Celsius temperature required to keep the Pfizer shots viable.

The Johnson & Johnson shot’s future availability should turbocharge efforts in New York and around the country to get more shots delivered to more places — to churches, doctors, nonprofits and health care clinics that have established relationships with hard-to-reach but vulnerable people — the elderly, nonwhite, non-English speaking residents whose biggest obstacle to getting a shot at this point isn’t vaccine hesitancy but difficulties they face getting an appointment. For example, Manhattan’s 125 available vaccine sites are nearly double the 69 locations to get shots in the Bronx, despite the boroughs’ similar-size populations.

Difficulty finding doses, trusting the dose-givers, and getting to where shots are given has meant just 15% of eligible elderly Black New Yorkers had gotten vaccinated as of earlier last week, compared to 30% of eligible elderly white New Yorkers.

We’ve got the tools we need. Get shots into the arms that need them, now.

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