March 5, 2021 -- Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city did not use its initial shipment of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine received this week.

He said there were two reasons: The J&J vaccine is not as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already available, and the city is getting enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to meet demand.

"The day may come in March or April when every single Moderna and Pfizer is committed, and we still have people who need a vaccine,” Duggan said Thursday at a news conference. “And at that point, we will set up a Johnson & Johnson center. I don't see that in the next couple of weeks.”

Health experts say one advantage of the J&J vaccine is that it requires only one shot and does not need to be shipped or stored in super-cold conditions, like the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. But experts say the J&J vaccine was tested after a number of troubling virus variants appeared in the United States, a fact that likely skewed the results.

The J&J vaccine only became available this week, after the FDA granted emergency use authorization. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says Detroit received 6,200 doses of that vaccine, which were distributed to other health departments, CNN reported.

"Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine,” Duggan said. “Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the city of Detroit get the best.”

The phase III study of the Johnson & Johnson revealed a 72% efficacy for preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 among U.S. participants. In contrast, researchers reported 94% to 95% efficacy for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Detroit received around 17,000 first-dose shots and 12,000 second-dose shots for this week, Duggan said.

“That covers everybody who wanted a vaccination this week. If we can cover everybody with Moderna and Pfizer, we’re going to do that,” he said. He expects around the same amounts for the coming week.

Detroit recently expanded the groups of people eligible for the vaccine to include residents 50 or older with a chronic medical condition and manufacturing workers.

The city’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard says more than 100,000 residents have been vaccinated -- about 40,000 people over the age of 60, 6,000 essential city employees, 9,500 schoolteachers and staff, and more than 7,000 grocery store workers and food handlers. More than 82% of people vaccinated said their race was African American, the city said.

WebMD Health News Brief


Facebook: City of Detroit Government, March 4, 2021.

CNN: “Detroit mayor declines Johnson & Johnson allotment, saying the other vaccines are better.”

Detroit COVID-19 Data Dashboard.


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