Created: March 04, 2021 06:00 PM
(ABC 6 News) - It's another tool in the toolbox to fight COVID-19. The new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now in the hands of local health professionals. They say that means more people can get protected from the virus faster. For some, that is with just one dose.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester has now received doses of all three vaccines.
"We are very excited to receive the J & J vaccine as well as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine," Dr. Abinash Virk, infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic, said.
Minnesota is getting closer to hitting that goal of 70% of senior citizens getting vaccinated by the end of March.
"About 64.1% of county residents over the age of 65 have received at least one dose of vaccine," Graham Briggs, director of Olmsted County Public Health, said.
Olmsted county remains near the top as far as counties go in Minnesota for the highest percentage of residents vaccinated.
"The addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine helps release a little bit of pressure on the system. We still don't have enough vaccine to vaccinate everybody next week, but we have a little bit more vaccine within reach now," Briggs said.
According to Olmsted County Public Health, by the end of this week, all school employees in the county will have been offered their first dose.
"We don't know exactly where MDH will decide to push vaccine to. I'm also assuming here that, coming through the Federal government, I wouldn't be surprised if J & J vaccine is going out directly to some of the pharmacies through the agreements that they've got here in the near future," Briggs said.
We have proof that the vaccines work. They protect us. Briggs describes it as a miracle.
"Just a year after the emergence of a novel virus to have this available as a tool to stop a pandemic is something we've never done in human history before," Briggs said.
Mayo Clinic says the COVID-19 vaccine will likely be annual just like the flu shot. There might even be a 2-in-1 vaccine each year with the flu and COVID shots combined. However, it's hard for health officials to make those predictions this early on.
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