Local providers ready to distribute Johnson & Johnson vaccine to those who want it

DEL MAR, Calif. – After an 11-day pause on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. health officials are giving the green light to use it with advisers stating its benefits outweigh rare risks of blood clots.

UCSD Health says it will start to roll out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of ongoing inoculation efforts.

But Dr. Shira Abeles, an infectious disease physician with UCSD Health, says it’s up to residents to decide if they want to take the J&J vaccine.

“People are going to make their own choice and for some people a single dose vaccine is absolutely the right choice,” Abeles said.

When making an appointment with UCSD, people will be able to pick which vaccine will be administered, corresponding with the day of inoculation, according to Abeles.

As of Friday, more than half of eligible San Diego County residents, or some 1.35 million people, have received at least one shot of the two-shot vaccines, according to the county. Nearly 33% of county residents ages 16 and older are fully immunized.

The state’s goal is to vaccinate 75% of people 16 and older to achieve so-called herd immunity — equating to around 2.02 million San Diego County residents.

The county said Friday it’s “awaiting further guidance” from the state’s Department of Public Health before resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

At the Del Mar COVID-19 super site, Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder says their capacity has now doubled.

“We are now set up to do as many as 10,000 a day and if we get the vaccine to do that, we can put a lot of vaccine in a lot of arms very quickly,” Van Gorder said.

The super site recently hit its highest single-day totals since opening in February.

“Five thousand today in half a day, which is probably the most efficient sites in the county now,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health chief medical officer for acute care, clinical excellence and experience.

County public health officials reported 329 new COVID-19 infections Friday as hospitalizations increased slightly. No new deaths were reported, and the cumulative totals of cases climbed to 275,096. The death toll remained 3,684.

Of the 14,708 tests reported Friday, 2% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests is 1.8%.

One new community outbreak was confirmed Thursday in a business setting. In the past seven days, 21 community outbreaks were confirmed.

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