Monument Health looks forward to the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week

HealthBeat

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — After approval from the FDA, a third COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive this week in South Dakota. Staff at Monument Health is excited for the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in western KELOLAND.

Scott Peterson, Senior Director of Pharmacy and Ambulatory Services, says the state will receive 7,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with Monument Health getting 1,900 of those.

“As we receive those doses we will place those in three locations to start with. We’ll have them available in Custer, Rapid City, and in our Spearfish locations,” Peteson said.

Right now, the Rapid City hospital is using mostly the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is being used outside of Rapid City, and the J&J vaccine will be used at both.

Peterson hopes this will help get 80 percent of the public vaccinated faster.

“We continue to work through that goal and we utilize all the vaccine that has been allotted to us. Hopefully, more and more people will decide to be vaccinated as we open up more groups at the state level,” Peterson said.

Some differences of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine versus the other COVID-19 shots are that it is one dose and it helps fight off severe cases of the disease. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson and Johnson is a viral vector vaccine.

“The other important difference is the storage requirements so the Johnson and Johnson is just regular fridge temperatures which is 2 to 4 degrees versus the arctic temperature for Pfizer which is -70 degrees. Or the freezer temperatures which is -20 degrees,” Dr. Shankar Kurra, VP of Medical Affairs, said.

Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health says all three of the vaccines are worth getting if or when you are able to.

“I can reassure you from a scientific, evidence based perspective, all three are equally good and all three are equally safe. More importantly, I think we are a race against this virus, we need to get folks immunized,” Dr. Kurra said.

Monument Health officials say if you would like to get scheduled for your COVID-19 vaccination, you can get on the hospital’s waitlist.

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