J&J vaccine generates optimism on Cape Cod

Coronavirus Local Impact

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The nation is poised to get a third vaccine against COVID-19, but health officials are concerned that at first glance the Johnson & Johnson shot may not be seen as equal to other options from Pfizer and Moderna. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Cape Cod officials are optimistic that the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine will play a leading role in the ongoing effort to immunize the region’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach residents.

Unlike the two-dose vaccines already in use developed by Moderna and Pfizer, the J&J option requires only a single dose. Outer Cape Health Services Chief Medical Officer Andrew Jorgensen said J&J’s doses can also be stored at a comparably higher temperature, anywhere between 36 degrees and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes them easier to transport.

“This vaccine promises to be very helpful in vaccinating hard to reach individuals, such as those living in rural communities such as ours,” Jorgensen told reporters on a Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force call Thursday morning. “We also expect many benefits for other hard to reach populations such as the homeless.” Sen. Julian Cyr — who described the J&J vaccine as “the vaccine I want in my arm” once he becomes eligible — said Cape officials have helped more than 400 older adults schedule appointments after they expressed inability to do so during a telephone town hall last month.

After expressing significant frustration in recent weeks about the vaccine rollout, the Truro Democrat said Thursday that the “the communication and the expectation” offered by the Baker administration has improved. “I feel reassured that the whole region is pulling in one direction, we are working collaboratively, and specifically, we have a plan to reach these most vulnerable people,” Cyr said.

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