CINCINNATI — The nation is facing a drastic reduction in the number of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines being shipped to states starting next week after the company reported problems with the production of the doses.
Ohio, which is using the one-time inoculation shot to safeguard college students, is no exception.
Representatives from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier said they’re waiting to learn the extent to which their vaccine clinics will be impacted. Both schools plan to move forward as planned with scheduled appointments for this upcoming weekend.
Health officials said students may get doses of Moderna or Pfizer, even if that means they have to schedule separate appointments for the second shot on their own.
“We’re really going from, ‘yes we want to use the one dose for colleges’ to ‘let’s use the vaccine that we have,’” Hamilton County Public Health director Dr. Steve Feagins said.
In the race against COVID-19 variants, Feagins said there’s no time to waste.
“The amount that we’re receiving next week, which is down considerably, is not – I’m told – impacted by what happened at the factory,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. “So we’ve got a couple of weeks of a lot less Johnson & Johnson.”
According to CDC data, Ohio will see an 88% reduction in the single-dose vaccine, from 171,900 doses this week to 20,300 next week.
“Even with college students who get the first dose of Pfizer or the Modern and then they go to the winds we feel more comfortable that they can get that second dose, but they’ve already got a fair bit of immunity,” Feagins said.
With Johnson & Johnson still promising to deliver on its promise of 100 million doses by the end of next month, Feagins believes demand – while still strong – will soon become a bigger issue than supply.
“It’s really nice to be able to change from why you can’t get the vaccine to why you should,” he said.
A UC spokeswoman confirmed student vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson will still take place Saturday, April 10 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena. A Xavier spokesman said the Cintas Center, which is being used as a mass vaccination site, will also proceed as normal as they wait to learn more about the next round of vaccine availability.