Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he plans on getting Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine — in order to show New Yorkers who may be wary about its effectiveness that it’s the “right choice.”
New York City’s first shipment of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to arrive in the Big Apple later this week, joining the ranks of the already in-use COVID-19 inoculations made by Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses, health officials said.
“I want to show people it’s the right choice,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing of his plan to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“And I, for one, look forward to only getting one shot rather than two, not because I can’t handle shots, but because of the schedule and everything else … When you get it done, once and you’re done, it is so much better for everyone’s lives.”
Johnson & Johnson has said its vaccine was found to be 66 percent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination and 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease.
The Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection — but health officials have stressed that all three vaccines get the job done.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, it’s effective, it’s life-saving,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.
Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test and Trace Corps, added, “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine prevents what matters — deaths and hospitalizations.”
New York City could see its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “as soon as Wednesday or Thursday,” Chokshi said.
New York state overall is expected to get 164,800 doses in the first shipment, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
The Big Apple is expected to initially receive “a relatively small supply” of about 70,000 over the first two-week period before “hopefully” picking up by the end of the month, Chokshi said,
The Big Apple ultimately plans on using that vaccine supply to inoculate homebound seniors, but he said that could take “a matter of weeks.”
The mayor also revealed that some New Yorkers have not been getting their second vaccine jab — which he said was another argument in Johnson & Johnson’s favor.
“We have people who aren’t showing up for their second shot. That’s a problem if it takes two shots to be effective,” de Blasio said. “But when you get one shot and it’s done and you’re protected, your life is protected and you’re not gonna’ end up in the hospital.”
In a later press briefing, Chokshi said that only a “relatively small number” of people so far “have not come back for their second doses.”
Some studies have suggested that people who have already had COVID-19 may only need one dose of the two-dose regimen, but city health officials said they wouldn’t recommend that.
“We feel quite strongly that we should stick with the current guidance,” said Jay Varma, de Blasio’s senior adviser for public health.
“We do realize that there’s been a lot of very interesting research that’s now been published looking at the immune response that people mount if they’ve previously been infected with COVID and then get their first dose of vaccine … but at the same time, we really want to stick as much as we can to things that have been proven in the real world, as opposed to things we think might be true,” said Varma.