HELENA — Governor Greg Gianforte announced on Monday that Montana is expected to receive its first doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine later this week.
Montana will receive 8,700 doses of the single-dose vaccine according to the governor, and counties will begin distributing those doses the week of March 8.
According to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services, the state has been receiving around 37,000 weekly doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines as of February 22.
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for J&J’s single-shot vaccine on Saturday, allowing it to be distributed in the U.S. for those 18 and older. This comes after the agency issued EUAs for Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines in December.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution will significantly improve the number of individuals considered vaccinated against the virus, since anyone receiving a dose will not need to have a second shot.
Data from the federal Food & Drug Administration lists the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be around 66 percent effective at preventing severe reactions to the COVID virus. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines efficacy rates are both above 90 percent.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News and CNN that all three vaccines are highly efficacious, and one shouldn’t be seen as “weaker” than another.
Fauci said that people shouldn’t wait for a certain company’s vaccine to become available to them. "These are three highly efficacious vaccines,” said Fauci. “I can tell you I have been fully vaccinated with one that was available. It was the Moderna. If I were not vaccinated now and I had a choice of getting a J&J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me."
On February 22, Lewis & Clark Public Health Disease Control and Prevention Division administrator Eric Merchant told MTN that although the efficacy for Johnson & Johnson is lower than Pfizer and Moderna, it’s still higher than the best flu vaccines which have around a 50 percent efficacy. “No matter what vaccine you have access to, get it because that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” said Merchant.
As of March 1, the State of Montana is reporting that 88,387 individuals have been fully vaccinated for COVID (received both doses), roughly 8 percent of the state’s total population.
GOOD NEWS -- Montana is slated to receive 8,700 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine later this week, and counties will begin distributing this safe, effective vaccine next week.— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) March 1, 2021