Long Beach gets first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one shot

Long Beach health officials received their first shipment of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine today, giving them supplies to inoculate 4,100 more people against COVID-19.

This is the third vaccine to receive emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration alongside the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot to offer protection agains the virus, which should quickly increase the number of patients considered fully vaccinated in Long Beach.

“We’re thrilled to be receiving the J&J vaccine,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This will allow us to further strengthen our vaccine outreach and provide the opportunity to people seeking to be vaccinated with a single dose.”

The exact schedule for when and where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be used in Long Beach is still being decided and will depend on how much supply the city gets on an ongoing basis, health officials said.

So far, more than 139,000 vaccines have been administered in Long Beach, which includes more than 93,000 first doses and more than 46,000 second doses, officials said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for use for people 18 years and older and has proven to be highly protective against severe COVID-19 illness and death. According to the pharmaceutical company, the vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, and showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.

The vaccine is also less temperature-sensitive than than the other two. It will be an important tool for vaccinating across the city’s mass vaccine clinics at the Convention Center as well as in the city’s mobile vaccination program, officials said.

“This vaccine is safe and highly effective,” Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said. “I encourage everyone to take this vaccine if offered; it’s a quick one-dose option that will prevent severe illness and death. The best vaccination to take is the one you have access to.”

To date, there have been 51,584 COVID-19 cases in Long Beach and 869 city residents have died from the virus.

This week, Los Angeles County expanded its vaccination efforts as COVID-19 case numbers continued to drop. The county officially met the criteria to potentially escape the most restrictive tier of the state’s economic-reopening blueprint, which could happen by the weekend, allowing the county to reopen more businesses.

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Sebastian Echeverry is the North Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded position with the Long Beach Post. If you want to support Sebastian's work, you can donate to his Report for America position at lbpost.com/support.