Minnesota waiting on more than 45,000 doses of J&J vaccine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — More than 45,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should arrive in Minnesota this week, state health officials said Monday.

Minnesota Department of Health spokesman John Schadl said the order for the first shipment of the single-dose vaccine was placed Sunday night. It usually takes a couple of days for processing and shipping, he said.

“More doses of safe and effective vaccine in the state means more people can get protected more quickly,” the Health Department said in a release Monday. “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game-changer that will help us quickly provide immunity to even more Minnesotans.”

Last week, Gov. Tim Walz said the state plans on vaccinating 70% of seniors in the state with at least one dose by the end of March before expanding vaccine eligibility. He said it could be done in less time with the new vaccine.

“That was not factored in and again the good thing on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is it’s one dose,” Walz said.

Health officials on Monday confirmed 636 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 485,230 positive tests and 6,486 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.