On Monday, March 1, North Carolina health officials had some good news for people hoping to get vaccinated. 

The state, like the rest of the country, suddenly has another COVID-19 vaccine in its arsenal.  Now that the federal government has authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in North Carolina this week.

The first of those doses should be in the state by Wednesday, March 3.

The news comes on the heels of the federal government announcing that a very large federal vaccination effort would be held at Four Season’s Mall in Greensboro.  

And, across the country, the national vaccination program is gaining steam.

As one can imagine, state health officials were delighted on Monday.  NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said the additional vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson will help in two ways.

“A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread,” Cohen stated in the March 1 press release that announced this week’s arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that are already in use, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine protects against virus-related hospitalization and death.  State officials note that there can be reactions to the shot – like a sore arm, fever, a headache or “feeling tired and achy for a day or two” – however, they maintain that all the vaccines available are safe and effective. 

The Monday press release stated, “This increased supply will help to ensure the equitable distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines in every community in the state. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a single-dose shot and does not require extreme cold storage.  As a result, it can be more easily shipped, stored and administered, factors that will help to increase the number of vaccination sites and make them more accessible.”