City of Detroit turns down 6K Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses

Posted at 5:39 AM, Mar 05, 2021

(WXYZ) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is saying no the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, for now.

The city turned down more than 6,000 doses of the single-dose shot this week, which is slightly less effective at preventing COVID-19 in the U.S. at 72%, compared to the double-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots, each around 95%.

Those doses that were turned down were provided to other health departments in the state struggling to get shots in the arms of seniors so they didn't go to waste.

Duggan said earlier that he wanted the city to have the best options, and he said that's Pfizer and Moderna.

"Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure residents of the city of Detroit get the best," Duggan said.

Duggan turned down 6,200 doses of the vaccine, made in Grand Rapids. The doses were sent to Detroit this week, on top of its allocated Pfizer and Moderna doses.

"The day may come when we have more Detroiters asking for vaccines than we have Moderna, Pfizer. In which case, we will set up a Johnson & Johnson site," Duggan added.

Next week, the mayor said Detroit is getting another 25,000-30,000 more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. This coming as the city again expanded eligibility to residents 50 and older with chronic medical conditions, something the state will do starting Monday.

In a statement to CNN, State Health Department spokesman Bob Wheaton said, "The Johnson and Johnson doses not used by Detroit were provided to other health departments that had lower coverage rates for those aged 65 years or older. All immunizing providers who can manage vaccine storage and management for a vaccine are expected to accept vaccine."

Duggan then released the following statement Friday afternoon:

The city of Detroit is excited that there are now three highly effective vaccines that will save lives. The data from the clinical trials is clear - the FDA, the CDC and Dr. Fauci all have been clear - Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are all highly effective at what we care about most, which is preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

The only reason we chose to not accept the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson was that we had enough capacity with Moderna and Pfizer to handle the 29,000 first and second dose appointments scheduled for the coming week, which already put us very close to our capacity at our current locations.

We always intended to distribute Johnson & Johnson once the demand warranted it and we had our distribution plan in place so we can make it just as accessible to our residents as we have Moderna and Pfizer. By the time the next J&J shipment arrives, we will have our plan in place to make it available.

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