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Florida Faces Supply Shortages With Johnson And Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

A sign stands in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium guiding visitors to the vaccination site. (Valeriya Antonshchuk/WUFT News)
A sign stands in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium guiding visitors to the vaccination site. (Valeriya Antonshchuk/WUFT News)

Over seven million COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered throughout the state, the Florida Department of Health reported. But last week, the governor announced the supply of one vaccine is falling short.

Supply shortages facing the single-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are arising, Governor Ron DeSantis announced in a press conference on Wednesday.

“We have no more J-and-J coming for the foreseeable future," DeSantis said. "For the next two or three weeks we’re not anticipating any new J-and-J and I don’t know what the issue with that is hopefully we’ll get more of that soon.”

He said the vaccine has been popular due to its single-dose feature.

Still, he encouraged Floridians to take any vaccine first available to them rather than wait for a Johnson and Johnson dose. In Alachua County, some doctors also said the single-shot vaccine is a great option for communities where accessing multiple doses may be a challenge.

University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute Director Doctor Glenn Morris, Jr. said the vaccine is a useful option for groups like highly mobile agricultural migrant workers.

“This is exactly the type of group where the Johnson and Johnson is critical. Because very frequently these labor groups — they’re not gonna be in a place for four weeks or three weeks to wait to get the second dose.”

Morris helped author a recent research study into a COVID-19 outbreak among H-2A temporary agricultural workers in Florida. He said the findings suggest how these communities can be especially vulnerable to spread.

He said it’s important for states to include these groups in vaccine distribution plans.

“We tend to forget that a high percentage of our crops is harvested by these types of workers," Morris said. "Like I say, 10% of all agricultural workers in our country are H-2A, here on these visas. And we need to be careful – we want to protect them.”

DeSantis said he hopes to have more Johnson and Johnson doses coming into the state once production ramps up.

Valeriya is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.