OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — The mass vaccination of an entire state is slowly moving along, but that effort now is getting a shot in the arm itself. The state health department announced Monday that 82,700 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed throughout Michigan this week.
“This isn't going to change the dynamics overnight, but its a ray of hope, it’s another sign of optimism,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter.
Oakland County is expecting to receive 6,700 of those doses either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“It’s a really big deal," Coulter said. "We’ve had weeks where we’ve had less than 2,000 or maybe 5,000. So on top of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, we’re getting, to have an additional 6700, it’s a lot.”
Because it’s easier to transport and because it’s only one shot, the County plans to use this vaccine to vaccinate senior living homes and homebound seniors.
“We’re expecting initial guidance on this vaccine from the State, but we’re thinking that the most vulnerable population will get these and we’ll save Pfizer and Moderna for the general population,” Coulter said.
Those booking appointments won't be able to choose which vaccine they can get, but doctors say all three vaccines are safe and effective.
“My recommendation to my patients and my family members and my friends and colleagues is to take the vaccine that you’re offered," said Dr. Sam Mossallam with Henry Ford. "You will have the protection you need.”
Clinical trials showed the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine was 65% effective overall, but 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalization or death. Studies are now being done on a two-dose regimen.
“That might actually bring it all the way up to the 95% that we see with Pfizer and Moderna," said Dr. Matthew Sims, director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health. "It just might be while one dose works well, 2 doses work better.”
In the meantime, nearly 83,000 more Michiganders will soon be vaccinated, inching the state closer to normalcy.
“We’re getting there and this is another tool to allow us to do that,” Coulter said.
So far, Oakland County has vaccinated about 14% of its adult population, but there are still 500,000 names on the waiting list.