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Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming to North Dakota

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The State of North Dakota will have three varieties of COVID-19 vaccines available throughout the state beginning Friday.

The Department of Health says it will receive 6,300 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also called the Janssen vaccine.

But some are concerned about the ethics of the new vaccine.

Roman Catholic leaders say it’s “morally compromised” because it’s produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus.

Immunization Director Molly Howell says for now, options are limited.

“Ultimately, people can choose if they want to receive it or not. That’s their decision, of course. And they need to make that decision on their own. But it may delay them in getting vaccinated if they were eligible to receive that Janssen vaccine and then decided to wait for Pfizer or Moderna dose. But that would be their decision,” explained Howell.

Clinical trials found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be 85 percent effective in preventing severe COVID cases.

Howell says states have been advised to incorporate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine into their priority groups.

“Pharmacies traditionally don’t necessarily have freezers on hand and they do have refrigerators and so that’s kind of another reason why we put it into pharmacies. And pharmacies for flu vaccinations play a large role in vaccinating employers. And so thought they could use the vaccines to do a lot of employer base vaccination as well,” explained Howell.

The first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is set to arrive in the state Friday.

The first shipment of the one-time doses vaccine will be allocated to pharmacies and urgent care centers throughout the state.

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