PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island has finally received its shipment of 9,100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed Thursday morning.
This vaccine, called Janssen, is in the redistribution process now, said Wendelken, and will be sent through the state’s distribution channels. This means that doses will go to state-run sites, local and community sites, clinics in the state’s high-density communities, hospitals, and community health centers, among other locations.
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the health department’s director, said during the weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday that seniors who are homebound could also benefit from this one-shot vaccine.
Residents who are being vaccinated will know whether they are getting the Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen vaccine.
Similarly to neighboring states, Rhode Island likely won’t see another shipment of the Janssen vaccine until the end of March. When asked how many doses will be in that shipment, Wendelken said, “We don’t know yet.”
The news comes a day after Rhode Island’s vaccine subcommittee voted Wednesday morning to allow the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be allocated for adults over the age of 18. During the meeting, Alexander-Scott, said the state was in the “early stages” of designing the distribution strategy for this one-shot vaccine, which is easier to store compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“It is more valuable for certain populations,” she said. But she said she wanted to be clear with messaging.
The subcommittee had talked about inoculating teachers, hospital patients, short-term prisoners, and administering the Janssen vaccine through mass-vaccination sites. During Thursday’s weekly COVID press conference, Alexander-Scott told reporters that a plan to vaccinate teachers is “in the works.”