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Arkansas prepares to receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

The state should receive over 24,000 doses by the end of the next week, with thousands of doses following in the weeks after.

ARKANSAS, USA — Now that there is a third COVID-19 vaccine on the market, the Arkansas Department of Health says it will make it easier to vaccinate residents, especially with a single dose shot.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, the state's top epidemiologist, says Arkansas will receive about 24,400 doses.

She says the state should receive those doses by the end of the next week, with thousands of doses following in the weeks after.

“I think it’s a very safe and effective vaccine so we’re looking forward to having those doses that it represents for use in Arkansas,” Dr. Dillaha said.

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With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being a single-dose shot, Dr. Dillaha says it will be easier to get it to rural parts of the state.

“It only requires refrigeration, it doesn’t require freezing and that will help us in terms of the situations in which we can deploy it," she said. "It will make it easier for us to take the vaccine to people because we can carry it in a refrigerated cooler.”

Dr. Dillaha explained the effectiveness of the newly FDA approved vaccine.

“In the phase 3 trials, it was effective in keeping everyone out of the hospitals and from dying after 28 days. So after 28 days, the dose was given then no people were put in the hospital and no one died from COVID-19.”

Federal and state health officials have concerns that even with strong data, some people may perceive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as an inferior option.

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