ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been described as a quick and easy option with just one dose, but appointments difficult to get in South Carolina.
The production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been stopped while the Food and Drug Administration investigates a lab incident in Baltimore where 15 million doses had the wrong ingredients. Fortunately, they were never shipped out, but it’s still having an impact.
South Carolina has had 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine delivered to the state. About 1.2 million doses of the Moderna shot, and 104,700 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered.
Walgreens and CVS stores across York and Lancaster counties are administering the Moderna vaccine. CVS was giving the Johnson & Johnson shot, but switched vaccines after the Johnson & Johnson lab incident.
For small pharmacies, such as South End Pharmacy in Rock Hill, this change poses a challenge, because Johnson & Johnson is the only vaccine they can offer, due to its less stringent storage requirements. It’s also the one many people want.
“Most people are happy to get just one shot,” said Tim Dunlap, who operates the local pharmacy. “One shot, and they’re done.”
South End Pharmacy was the only place in York County where Channel 9 could find the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday.
Dunlap said there has been a lot of community interested in getting the one-shot vaccine.
“Overwhelming,” Dunlap said. “We had more appointments than we have doses.”
Dunlap said the pharmacy had 240 doses Friday morning, which have already been spoken for.
More than 500 people have made appointments for when the next shipment arrives.
Larger drug store chains generally get more doses and will take whatever is in the greatest supply.
It’s not clear when shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will start again.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control said supply issues will happen, and providers will adjust.
DHEC said the way the mix-up was handled proves the system is working, because the bad doses were immediately noticed and destroyed.