First doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine hit Portsmouth

Coronavirus in Ohio

PORTSMOUTH, OHIO (WOWK) — Thursday marks the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Portsmouth, and hundreds of people rolled through drive-thru clinics to get their vaccinations.

“Just Monday is when they first started shipping it and over the weekend it got the emergency approval so we’re excited about that; that’s really going to be a game changer,” Larry Mullins, the director of Scioto County Emergency Management says.

One of the two drive-thru clinics had about 200 doses, which they planned to administer Thursday.

“We have no doubt it’s just as effective as the other two vaccines, and even better it’s one dose.” 

Chris Smith, RS, MA, Portsmouth City Health Commissioner

Some of those who got their vaccinations Thursday feel the same way.

“I was waiting on the one time one!” says Kathy Rolen, who got her COVID-19 vaccine.

The health commissioner says they aren’t sure when they’re going to receive more of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after this week’s shipment, however.

“Next week, now we’re not getting it. So you know, and hopefully we will after that. So it’s just very sporadic,” Smith says.  

That sentiment is shared at the county level as well.

“The biggest problem is that the state is trying to micromanage everybody now, and if they would just send the vaccine, get out of the way, we’d do fine!” says Mullins.

There’s another new development in vaccine distribution in Scioto County, and it promises to be very beneficial: local pharmacies are getting in on the vaccination efforts.

“This week I was able to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine—it’s also the first week I was able to get vaccine from the state of Ohio. We had people, at least two 90-year old women were telling me ‘I’m not getting the vaccine until you get it,” says Brett Davis, owner of Morton’s Pharmacy.

As far as the public’s trust in this one dose vaccination.

“We were concerned that there would be skepticism, but we don’t seem to be having that here… I haven’t gotten the final numbers, but less than five people, maybe less than 10 have once they got here, changed their mind because they heard it was Johnson and Johnson,” Smith says.

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