Local pharmacies hope vaccine shortages ease with approval of third vaccine

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A locally owned group of pharmacies is hopeful that the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines for their customers and others will ease once the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for use and distribution.

That could happen with a week.

“It’s exciting. I think it’s going to take a lot of pressure off. Not just us, but the entire system,” said pharmacist Neal Wiseman.

Wiseman works at Briarcliff Pharmacy on Clairmont Road in DeKalb County. He told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that depending on vaccine supply, they will administer around 40 shots per day.

He says because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, it will speed up the vaccination process.

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“That one dose as opposed to coming back for two, is really inspiring to think about,” said Wiseman.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, are 95% effective in protecting against the virus. Though it has less efficacy, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also provides strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19, from 75% to 100%.

“It also can be kept in regular refrigeration, and it doesn’t need to be frozen and in ultra freeze storage like Pfizer,” said Dr. Jonathan Marquess.

Marquess, a pharmacist, owns 10 independent pharmacies in metro Atlanta. He said they have provided vaccine shots to around ten thousand people, with only a handful of minor side effects.

“Let’s hope that’s the case with Johnson and Johnson,” Marquess said.

Marquess says while providing thousands of vaccine doses they have not wasted a single dose.