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Public won’t get to choose which vaccine they get, W.Va. officials say

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 2:42 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Which vaccine you get, won’t be a choice, West Virginia officials said on Wednesday.

Major General James Hoyer and Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh answered a question during Governor Jim Justice’s Wednesday briefing on whether or not patients will have a choice between the 95 percent effective Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or the less effective Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

In short, state officials said no.

General Hoyer and Dr. Marsh on vaccine choice

State officials were asked today about whether or not West Viriginia residents will be allowed to choose which vaccine they get as more get approved by the FDA for emergency use. In short, they said no.

Posted by Zach Shrivers on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

“I don’t think that will be the way we will do it,” said Hoyer. “Because of the value of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine related to the fact that it prevents death and drastically reduces hospitalization, we’ll continue to look with our medical experts at how we might focus that in a particular age category. But, it is an important tool in our arsenal to get people vaccinated.”

While age may play a role in which vaccine a person gets moving forward, the experts are still looking into how they will use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine once it becomes available.

Marsh agreed with Hoyer on how the vaccines will be distributed and added that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has other potential benefits in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s much easier to store and to move because it is much more stable than the Pfizer vaccine and even the Moderna,” said Marsh.

It’s also just one shot, instead of two.

Officials say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been 85 percent effective in preventing severe illness and has a 100 percent survival rate.

It is only about 65 percent effective in stopping infections.

“From the standpoint of our FDA and stuff like that, they’re not going to put a vaccine out to all of us, there’s no way, that they’re going to put a vaccine out that is subpar,” said Governor Jim Justice. “That’s all there is to it.”

Justice also said the state will be getting an extra 2,500 to 3,000 doses in the state’s next shipment, for a total of roughly 30,000.

Dr. Marsh expects the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be approved for emergency use in a matter of weeks.

In addition to his comments on vaccines, Governor Justice discussed the state’s declining COVID numbers.

State officials reported 535 new cases today and Justice says active cases have gone down for 18 straight days.

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