The first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived on Long Island on Wednesday, a day after Nassau County Executive Laura Curran introduced a plan to help vaccinate the county’s 45,000 veterans.
Health officials confirmed that the first shipment of the vaccine was being delivered to Northwell Health on Wednesday, with the first single-dose shot being given to a patient discharged from South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore.
Northwell, according to officials, is one of the first health entities in the nation to administer the newly approved vaccine. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the shot had a 72 percent effectiveness at preventing the coronavirus and an 86 percent effectiveness at preventing severe illness and death.
The administration issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine on Feb. 27, which allows the vaccine to be distributed for individuals 18 years or older. Studies have also shown that the vaccine was approximately 77 percent effective in preventing severe or critical coronavirus occurring at least 14 days after the vaccination was administered and was 85 percent effective in preventing the contraction of the virus 28 days after vaccination.
Officials have also noted that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the easiest to store of the three that have been federally approved. Bruce Haber, the chief of infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, cited the simplicity of the vaccine’s storage to Newsday.
“It’s ideal for mobile vans, senior citizen centers and pharmacies,” Haber told Newsday. “It can be stored in a refrigerator for months, and even after it’s open, it can be stored in a fridge for six hours and in room temperature for two hours.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state anticipates getting more than 164,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, which will contribute to the roughly 878,080 doses of all three vaccines, which include the Pfizer and Moderna ones, the state will receive for its Week 12 shipment.
“The White House has made great progress securing additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and New York State will receive a large initial allocation of them to be administered over the next week,” Cuomo said. “There will then be a lag in Johnson & Johnson production until it ticks up again roughly two weeks later.”
On Tuesday, Curran announced a partnership with the county and the Nassau University Medical Center to help put shots in the arms of county veterans. Curran said the initiative, which is scheduled to begin later this week, will begin allocating 300 weekly doses to veterans.
The registration for veterans to get vaccinated will be conducted by the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, and those with questions or to find out more information can call the agency at 516-572-6565.
“Nassau County is home to more than 45,000 Veterans and I am dedicated to providing them with access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Curran said. “Protecting our Vets from this deadly disease is the least we can do as they valiantly fought to protect our freedoms. Thank you to NUMC and the Nassau County VSA for their partnership in this very important initiative to get these lifesaving doses into our Veterans’ arms.”