Will Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout in time to help Florida?

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 22:16:35-05

CAPE CORAL, FLA — The current supply of COVID-19 vaccines is not meeting the demand in Florida.

And Governor Ron DeSantis says, he knows.

"Everyone that's currently getting vaccine is asking for more vaccine and that's understandable," he said.

While rolling out a new vaccine site in Charlotte County Thursday, he proposed this solution:

"So the question would be, maybe we get the Johnson & Johnson."

Johnson & Johnson has promised in the past, to roll out 10 million vaccines by the end of this month. But there's concern that it might not happen.

"We're trying to figure out what they produced so far," said DeSantis.

We asked Florida Gulf Coast University Public Health professor, Dr. Jay Gupta, about the possible production slow down.

He says there are two main obstacles: for one their vaccine still needs FDA approval.

"It might be an emergency authorization, which is what has happened in the past with other vaccines too," he said.

Dr. Gupta says then there's the problem of getting it created properly.

"They're [using] advanced technologies. And the laboratories that can produce them must have the technology to prepare them in high volumes," said Dr. Gupta.

And while we're on the topic of vaccines, we also asked him about the level of effectiveness being reported for each new vaccine.

Does it really matter if you get one with a lower level of effectiveness?

He says no.

And he adds that the best thing you can do is take any approved vaccine that can give you a better chance at beating COVID-19.

"Instead of thinking about the percentages, which is 70 percent, which is 90 percent effective. The suggestion is to take whichever vaccine is available immediately," he said.

As for now, the U.S. will continue to rely on Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for its supply.

Thursday night, President Biden said both companies have pledged to produce a combined 600 million doses by July.