J&J vaccine to join Pfizer, Moderna for distribution in South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Johnson and Johnson vaccines are headed to South Dakota after receiving emergency authorization use over the weekend. Seven thousand were received statewide, with 1,900 of those heading West River later this week.

This marks the third vaccine to be distributed nationwide, and it comes with some different characteristics.

First, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires normal refrigeration, as opposed to deep freezers, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Second, it only requires one dose instead of two.

And third, the technology behind the vaccines is different than the other two, but still is highly effectively in protecting the body from COVID-19.

“Now if this person once immunized with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, if they’re exposed to the virus, the virus can’t get into the cell because it’s blocked by these antibodies,” said Dr. Shankar Kurra, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be distributed first in Rapid City, Custer, and Spearfish before expanding to other locations West River.

According to Scott Peterson, the Director of Pharmacy, at Monument Health, people have some choice as to which vaccine they receive – but it comes down largely to location.

“We have to utilize all those doses; right now, were keeping Pfizer here in Rapid City because of the stringent storage requirements, and then we’re sending out the Moderna vaccine outside of Rapid City and the Johnson and Johnson will be a mix,” Peterson said.

Both Dr. Kurra and Peterson say all three vaccines are highly effective and encourage everyone to get vaccinated as they can in accordance with the state’s vaccination plan.

They say the goal is to get to 80 percent vaccinations statewide. Currently, the state sits at 26 percent.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News