With approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Johnson & Johnson, West Virginia’s weekly allotment of doses could approach 60,000, Gov. Jim Justice said during the state COVID-19 briefing Friday.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is right around the corner for us,” he said.
James Hoyer, state COVID-19 interagency task force director, said the state is expecting to receive up to 15,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine late next week.
Through Friday, the state has administered 285,654 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and 183,337 second doses, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 dashboard.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just a single dose.
State Public Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad said people should think of the vaccines as different models of cars, saying, “They’re just made differently, but they’re all effective vaccines.”
She said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has about an 86% effectiveness rate, lower than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but well above the 60% to 70% efficacy rates for traditional flu vaccines.
Also during Friday’s briefing:
- While health care experts believe COVID-19 precautions such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing effectively wiped out the flu season nationally this winter, Justice said he’s not inclined to mandate mask wearing in future flu seasons.
“I hope to the good Lord above we can get rid of this mask,” he said, gesturing to the mask on his desk. “I surely hope we don’t have to mandate wearing masks because I want to back as close to normal.”
Amjad said she has not heard any professional discussions of making mask wearing routine during flu seasons.
“As far as I’ve heard, and in speaking with physician colleagues, there has not been any thought to continue wearing masks in flu seasons,” she said.
However, Amjad said she’s hopeful people will be mindful of the pandemic, and will be more cautious and take precautions during future flu seasons.
- DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said the department continues outreach efforts to increase vaccine registrations for African-Americans and other minorities.
However, he said that to date, only 0.2% of those registered on the state’s vaccinate.wv.gov website are Black.