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J&J Vaccine Gets Approval For Use In Western States

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The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson has passed a Western states safety review. That clears the way for the vaccine to be made available alongside previously approved shots from Moderna and Pfizer.

In a letter to the governors of Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup concludes that Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is safe and effective – even against new variants of the virus. The letter says the single dose shot provides excellent clinical protection and will lead to reduced severe and critical COVID-19 illnesses and hospitalizations.

The workgroup unanimously recommends the vaccine be used. Besides being just a single shot vaccine, the J&J product is easier to handle because it can be stored in a regular refrigerator. The purpose of the regional workgroup is to independently review and assess vaccine data following federal authorization.

Spokane health officials say they’re committed to helping get teachers vaccinated as soon as the governor releases a plan.


On Tuesday President Joe Biden called on states to have all teachers vaccinated with at last one shot by the end of March. Governor Inslee announced that teachers and childcare workers would be added to the current eligibility list.


Spokane Interim Health Officer Francisco Velázquez said the district has already helped vaccinate teachers who are most at risk. He said the state may use an existing federal pharmacy program to vaccinate teachers, but the health district has resources for schools, or child care centers that need help.


“It will be a matter of what is most convenient, what is most readily available for each one of these individuals. I encourage everyone to contact your provider, get on the website and see what the options are for you. Our goal is to get you immunized as quickly as we can," he said.


Velazquez said the Health District has already had discussions with childcare providers about what they may need to get vaccinated. He said vaccine centers like the Spokane Arena will be open to their workers, and they can contact their healthcare providers directly about getting a vaccine.


Idaho Governor Brad Little says he’s skeptical about claims by President Biden the nation will have enough Covid vaccine for every adult in America by the end of May.

“I would love to have everybody vaccinated by the end of May, but the numbers that they’re telling us about the amount of vaccine, I did the math yesterday after the call and then I sent an email to my public health team. It looks like we’re going to have about 120% of what we have right now. That isn’t going to get us nearly to that point that the president talked about," he said Wednesday at an Idaho Press Club event.

Little says has the infrastructure in place to vaccinate three or four times what it’s receiving from the federal government. He defended his decision to keep Idaho in a formal state of emergency. He says that has allowed him to call on Idaho National Guard members to carry out important Covid-related duties during the pandemic.