COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW/WCBD) – South Carolina will receive more than 40,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this week, according to DHEC.
The first allocation of the newly-approved vaccine will have about 41,000 doses, DHEC said. DHEC is on-boarding additional providers to distribute the vaccine across the state.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine that is 85% effective in preventing severe disease.
While touring a vaccine clinic in Spartanburg on Monday, DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said the state expects to receive the vaccine on Friday or Saturday.
“We will get our first Johnson & Johnson vaccine either Friday or Saturday, it has already been promised by the government,” he said. “We’ll get a big shipment upfront, then it will probably be a bit less for the next two weeks because, as the governor said, they didn’t really stockpile it. But then we expect to be getting more.”
Dr. Simmer went on to say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be easier to distribute because it is easier to store and it’s a single dose. “That’s going to be a big part, especially getting the vaccine out to areas that are harder to get to, or where people can’t come back for a second shot.”
The White House has said that the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately. J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, but the distribution would be backloaded.
The U.S. government authorized Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, making it the third to be available in the country following ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Both of those vaccines require two doses and need to be shipped frozen. The J&J vaccine can be shipped and stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.
NewsNation, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.