UR Medicine has begun vaccinating at-risk patients who are in the process of being discharged from Strong Memorial Hospital. The effort is part of a New York State initiative announced earlier this week related to the distribution of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen coronavirus vaccine.
The state has allocated a portion of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine supply to hospitals and directed the institutions to offer the vaccine to individuals being discharged from inpatient care, prioritizing long-term care residents and those 65 years or older first, followed by those ages 18-64 with one or more of the currently eligible comorbidities or underlying conditions. Any remaining vaccine will be available to non-hospital patients 65 and older. New York State also announced the new vaccine will be administered at state-run mass vaccination sites.
“The key advantage of the Janssen vaccine is that it is one dose,” said University of Rochester Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Mike Apostolakos, M.D. “This provides the flexibility and convenience to complete the vaccination process – avoiding the need to return for a second dose – for patients who have traveled a long distance for their care, are being discharged to a congregate setting, or are at higher risk for severe illness.”
On February 27, the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine became the third coronavirus vaccine granted emergency use authorization by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Results from the phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine showed that it was 85% effective in preventing severe disease and, provided complete protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death 28 days after immunization. An initial batch of 3.9 million doses of the vaccine were delivered to states this week and on Wednesday the Biden Administration announced a manufacturing partnership between J&J and Merck that will accelerate vaccine production.
Care coordinators at Strong Memorial Hospital have begun to identify and offer vaccine to eligible patients approaching their discharge date, and an initial group of patients were vaccinated on Thursday. The program will be rolled out in other UR Medicine affiliate hospitals in the comings weeks.