The feds will begin delivering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to states as early as Tuesday — releasing their entire current cache of 3.9 million doses by week’s end, the White House said Monday.
But another major rollout of the highly anticipated single-dose immunizations — 16 million shots — won’t come until later in the month, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients at a briefing.
The doses will be shipped to states, tribes and US territories based on population, as the Biden administration has done with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently on the market, Zients said.
“For example, if a state represents 2 percent of the US population, it receives approximately 2 percent of the Pfizer allocation, 2 percent of the Moderna allocation and will now receive 2 percent of the J&J allocation,” Zients said.
The feds have estimated that New York would receive nearly 165,000 doses of the J&J shot in the first round of deliveries, with the Big Apple netting about 71,000 immunizations from that pot.
“We have the distribution channels in place, and we’re getting doses out the door as quickly as possible,” Zients said.
He said the 3.9 million J&J doses are the drugmaker’s entire current stock.
The shot is considered a potential game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus because it involves a single dose as opposed to the two-immunization versions from Pfizer and Moderna and requires only normal refrigeration, unlike the others.
“We know that J&J distribution and delivery will be uneven across these early weeks in March,” Zients said.
An additional 16 million doses will be available by the end of March, the official said, adding that it will come “predominantly … in the back half of the month.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted at a separate press briefing Monday that the Big Apple is “about to get a lot of the J&J vaccine.”
The mayor was asked about the fact that its general efficacy is around 66 percent compared to more than 92 percent for the other two vaccines — and whether the city has any concerns with the optics of its plan to distribute it to underserved communities and homebound seniors.
His health officials noted that studies show the shot is just as effective as the others when it comes to preventing serious illness and death.
“If you want to prevent the severe complications of COVID, take the first vaccine available because they all do the same thing,” Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior health adviser, said at the briefing.
“[The J&J vaccine] is 100 percent effective against people dying from COVID and almost 100 percent effective against people being hospitalized,” he said.
Varma added that in terms of generally preventing the disease, J&J’s shot was tested later than the others, at a time when there were new variants surfacing, which likely affected its numbers.
“I intend to recommend it to my patients, especially my homebound patients,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, the head of the city’s Health + Hospitals Corp., at the briefing.
De Blasio also argued that the single dose is a big selling point.
“You get one dose, and you’re done — you don’t have to worry about when your next shot will be,” he said.
“When my time comes, I would be very happy to take the J&J vaccine.’’
Meanwhile, the city’s latest seven-day rolling average for positive COVID-19 test results is continuing a slight gradual trend downward at 6.13 percent, de Blasio said.
The statewide positivity rate is 3.58 percent, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.