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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

U.S. aims for Tuesday delivery of J&J shots

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U.S. aims for Tuesday delivery of J&J shots
U.S. aims for Tuesday delivery of J&J shots

Initial deliveries of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should start on Tuesday, senior Biden administration officials said on Sunday, saying they hoped to boost lagging vaccination rates among minorities.

Bryan Wood reports.

Senior U.S. White House officials said on Sunday deliveries of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should start on Tuesday.

It will become the third vaccine made available in the U.S., but officials are noting a lag in reaching minority communities.

One official said vaccinations for Black and brown Americans were "at rates lower than the representation in the general population." Although they gave no data on the disparities, federal officials have ensured that distribution has been fair.

They've also acknowledged concerns raised by some Black Americans, given the country's history of past disparities, and a decades-long experiment in which Black men had been denied treatment to study syphilis.

Officials have underscored the importance that anyone who can get vaccinated should do so as soon as possible, They've also sought to assure minorities of their safety.

On Sunday, one official said, "It is critical that people understand the safeguards that are in place around this clinical research, but also the diversity and representation at the level of the scientist, policymakers and those reviewing these data, as well as the clinical trial participants." Nearly 400 community vaccination centers have been placed in areas with large minority populations… medical teams are also deploying mobile units and adding flexible hours of operation.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will need only one dose, as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech's two, and may be easier to distribute since it can be stored and shipped at normal temperatures.

But officials said all three vaccines should be available evenly across the country.