County health departments received word from the state last week that they would be receiving a one-time allotment of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-shot vaccine that the state has been using primarily for workers in agriculture and manufacturing.
“About three or four weeks ago, we got the numbers to the state about our numbers in manufacturing and agriculture,” Jefferson County Public Health Director Christ Estle said. “That’s why we’re getting an increase. We received notification that we would get 600 doses of Johnson & Johnson.
“We’ve reached out to our manufacturers to get another sweep through the population.”
Washington County Public Health will received 400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We’re getting additional Johnson & Johnson as a one-time drop of 400 to Washington County,” Public Health Director Danielle Pettit-Majewski said. “There are some restrictions though.
“We are targeting Tier 2 and hard to reach populations who would have difficulty getting to an appointment for a second dose.”
Henry County Public Health Director Shelley Van Dorin said there is some confusion regarding how many doses of Johnson & Johnson the county would actually received.
“We’ve been told we’re getting 1,600,” Van Dorin said. “We may not actually receive that many though. We’re trying to get some more information.”
She said that her department has been actively working with agriculture and manufacturing businesses to determine how many more people in that sector need vaccinations.
All counties will receive their regular weekly allotment of vaccines from the state in addition to the Johnson & Johnson doses.
Henry County receives 400 doses of Moderna each week, while Jefferson and Washington counties receive 300 doses of the Monderna vaccine each week.
All of those vaccine doses do not include the doses pharmacies receive directly from the government as part of the retail pharmacy program.
That program has caused some confusion with public health officials.
“It’s hard to navigate when you don’t know what the pharmacies are getting,” Estle said. “We know what we’re doing but don’t always know what the pharmacies are doing.”
Pettit-Majewski expressed some of her frustration with that issue to U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks during a visit to a vaccine clinic on Wednesday.
“We can do this; we’ve been planning for this,” Pettit-Majewski said. “Give us the vaccine. We know what we’re doing. We have the partnerships.”
Estle echoed the same sentiment.
“In everything we practiced for, never was it said vaccines would be shipped directly to pharmacies,” Estle said. “They were always going to be a partner, and we have a good relationship with our pharmacies.”