LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – A third COVID-19 vaccine is joining the rollout in Florida.
Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose shot received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the weekend, and locations in South Florida are getting ready to add those doses to their arsenal.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to be coming to Florida sometime this week.
Meanwhile, as reggae music was blasting, senior citizens lined up Monday to get the coronavirus shot at a Walmart parking lot in Broward County.
One of those seniors was Hazelle Rogers, the mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, who is encouraging the community to get the vaccine and is leading by example.
“I feel good. I had water immediately after I took my shot,” Rogers said. “It is safe. Take the vaccine because it will help you.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky approved the latest vaccine Sunday evening.
Just days ago, DeSantis said we can expect thousands of doses to arrive in the Sunshine State this week.
Meanwhile, University of Miami researchers are detecting a number of COVID-19 variants in Miami-Dade County, including three from Brazil, one from the United Kingdom and a newly discovered one from New York, raising concerns about whether these mutations are resistant to vaccines.
“That’s the additional mutation that allows these variants to be what we call escaped mutants,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert from Florida International University.
But health experts say current vaccines are proven to be effective against some variants and are better than no protection at all.
“We are going to have to vaccinate as many people as possible in as short amount of time as possible,” said Dr. Corey Frederick, of Memorial Regional Hospital.
He added that the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine could be a good option for those with issues like transportation or other challenges returning for a second dose.
Bottom line, Dr. Frederick said studies show the J&J vaccine is safe and it works.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been show to be both safe and effective in preventing COVID-19, especially in regards to hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.
Meanwhile, more people are getting Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines.
At the Hard Rock Stadium, more than 74,000 shots have been administered since the start of vaccinations.
And strike teams are getting ready to vaccinate some very special senior populations in our area.
“We will be delivering vaccines to approximately 1,000, not only Holocaust, but also Bay of Pigs survivors in the South Florida region,” said Mike Jachles, with the Florida Association of Public Information Officers.
In a $1 billion contract signed last year, Johnson & Johnson pledged to deliver 100 million doses across the U.S. by the end of June.