First shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine goes to educators, we won’t see another shipment for weeks

MADISON, Wis. — Public health organizations are using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a third tool in the fight against COVID-19, but other vaccinators haven’t been able to yet.

“The state chose to allocate its Johnson & Johnson vaccine to local public health departments to help with educators and childcare vaccinations,” said Dr. Matt Anderson at UW Health.

This means many large health organizations such as UW Health and smaller pharmacies didn’t get any. But Anderson said the shipment is still helping everyone in the long run.

“The benefit of having Johnson and Johnson, even though we’re not getting any of it, is it’s part of the supply that’s going out to other vaccinators. And so that leaves more of the Pfizer there for us,” said Anderson.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, last week about 170,000 first doses arrived in Wisconsin. Nearly 48,000 of those were the first Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines.

But we likely won’t see any more Johnson & Johnson doses for about three weeks.

Next week, even with an increase in allocation from the federal government, Wisconsin will only get about 129,000 new doses.

Public Health Madison & Dane County said this halt in Johnson & Johnson vaccine deliveries won’t affect the process at the Alliant Energy Center too much.

“We have been providing Pfizer and Moderna up until this week. We’ll put that back into the mix once we no longer have Johnson & Johnson. It just means that you have to come back for your second dose,” said PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich.

Johnson & Johnson shipments should pick up again at the end of the month. By that time, Anderson is hopeful UW Health will be done vaccinating the rest of their patients who are 65 and older.

They will then move on to other newly-eligible groups, including people in Medicaid long-term care programs, non-frontline healthcare workers and some public facing essential workers.

Anderson said UW Health will be working with PHMDC to vaccinate essential workers. PHMDC will take the lead by coordinating vaccines for eligible employees. Employers can click here to sign up on through a survey.