Even without J&J doses, vaccination efforts for homeless and homebound continue

Changes to distrubution in Arkansas after removal of J&J vaccine

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One benefit to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, was its one and done.

That’s why it was ideal for the homeless and homebound said Kevin Spratlin Memphis Fire Manager of the Healthcare Navigator Program.

“We were using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because some of the people that we are seeking to serve are not always available for that second follow-up shot,” Spratlin said.

In Shelby County, 17,000 people received the J&J vaccine.

Spratlin said 767 people received that vaccine through Healthcare Navigator.

By 7:20 we had totally transitioned our operation to administering Pfizer, which meant pulling all of our other supply and all the paperwork that goes along with it and were prepared to roll out with Pfizer and we did. We did not miss a single vaccination or change any of our routes or our pop-up events,” Spratlin said.

Spratlin said because they pick up the Pfizer vaccine thawed the transportation does not change.

That’s not the case for Melanie Keller, President and CEO of Meritan, whose team was actively vaccinating homebound people in Shelby, Tipton, Fayette and Lauderdale counties.

“We started in mid-March and through last week had vaccinated 250 individuals with Johnson and Johnson until we got the pause on the vaccine,” Keller said.

Keller said they have 150 J&J doses sitting in storage and have put a pause on things until they can get some doses of Moderna, or the green light once again on J&J.

“We will be up and running again either when we get the Moderna vaccine or when we get the green light to go ahead and use the John Johnson and Johnson again, whichever comes first,” Keller said.

Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen has said they are not aware of anyone who received the J&J vaccine that is having any adverse side effects.

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