One and done: Johnson & Johnson doses administered at Southcoast Health
The Johnson & Johnson shot is making its way into the arms of eligible Dartmouth residents.
Last week, the state received 58,000 doses of the newly approved one-shot vaccine — 5,000 of which were allocated to the Southcoast Health clinics in Dartmouth and Fall River over the past weekend.
Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which take advantage of the process that cells use to make proteins in order to trigger an immune response, the Johnson & Johnson doses contain harmless proteins of the virus that cause Covid-19 instead of the entire germ.
The Food and Drug Administration indicates that the vaccine protects against new variants of the virus.
Early last month, first dose bookings were briefly closed after the state decided to prioritize distributing their vaccine supply to their state-controlled mass vaccination sites. After a weeklong hiatus, clinics were able to resume on Feb. 24.
“I think the state saw that we were getting shots in arms and that has convinced them to continue to send us supply,” said Southcoast Health spokesperson Shawn Badgley. “The spigot was sort of turned off for a week, [but] we were able to resume quite quickly.”
Dartmouth resident Harriet Rantoul-Hazard was among one of the first to get the newly authorized vaccine at Southcoast Health’s VF Outlet clinic in Dartmouth.
While some patients have reported feeling pain, redness, or swelling around the injection site, Rantoul-Hazard said the shot “didn’t hurt.”
“On a scale of one to ten, ten being the best, this was definitely a ten,” she said. “Flawless.”
Rantoul-Hazard added that when she found out she’d get the single jab, she was excited that she wouldn’t have to schedule a return trip and that it’s “more resistant” to the other strains of the virus.
Southcoast Health spokesperson Shawn Badgley said these will be the only Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics in Dartmouth “for the foreseeable future,” since allotments for the new vaccine remain low from the state.
“First doses are very much a week-to-week determination,” he said. “We have to wait, of course, to learn what sort of supply we’ll be receiving before we schedule any clinics for that upcoming week.”
This is not the first time state supply issues have affected Southcoast Health’s vaccination efforts.
Early last month, first dose bookings were briefly closed after the state decided to prioritize distributing their vaccine supply to their state-controlled mass vaccination sites.
Clinics were able to resume on Feb. 24.
“I think the state saw that we were getting shots in arms and that has convinced them to continue to send us supply,” Badgley said. “The spigot was sort of turned off for a week, [but] we were able to resume quite quickly.”
As of March 8, only a few days after Johnson & Johnson clinics began, Badgley said “the vast majority” of the one-shot vaccines were used. For future clinics, he said the Southcoast Health sites will resume with the Pfizer doses.
“All of these vaccines are effective, they’re safe,” Badgley added. “They’re what we have right now, and [people] should use them.”
Those interested in getting vaccinated can sign up for Southcoast’s MyChart portal, which automatically adds people to the healthcare provider’s list of prospective vaccine recipients, at mychart.southcoast.org/mychart/signup.
As vaccines become available, eligible people who have signed up for MyChart will be randomly selected and asked to schedule an appointment.
If additional doses remain, patients can sign up through a new online scheduling system at www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling.