New COVID-19 vaccines awaiting approval could help ramp up vaccine rollout

Sanford Health's Dr. Doug Griffin says more vaccine supply is needed

FARGO, N.D. — New coronavirus vaccines are potentially on the horizon.

As we slowly inch closer to public vaccinations for COVID-19, vaccines by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca could soon be added to the list of options.

Sanford Health Vice President and Medical Officer Dr. Doug Griffin says more vaccine supply is needed.

“We’re eagerly — well, I think the whole country is eagerly waiting for more options vaccines, so the more manufacturers, the more vaccine supply,” Griffin says.

The new vaccines could be weeks away from getting federally approved, and there are some key differences from Pfizer and Moderna.

Both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca require only one dose and they do not need to be stored in freezing cold temperatures.

Griffin adds, “The one dose versus two is quite significant because you have to vaccinate half as many times.”

Who will be best fitted for which option of vaccines is not yet clear.

“The devil of all that will be in the details of what’s in the anticipated emergency use authorization, if given,” explains Griffin.

What is clear is that we are still quite a ways away from widely vaccinating the public.

“Bottom line is the supply is far, far lower than the demand, even among those patients that are in highest, highest risk,” Griffin says. “So, the number of people and patients getting vaccinated at this point in time is really a small proportion than [the ones] that need it.”

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have proved effective against the new COVID-19 variant, which was confirmed in the Twin Cities metro on January 9th.

Sanford Health’s lab is working on reviewing specimens to find out if the variant is closer to home.

Dr. Griffin says whether or not the variant is confirmed in North Dakota, continuing to mask up and physical distance is crucial.

A vaccination event at Sanford’s Moorhead Clinic on Friday is open only to Sanford patients who live in Clay County and were notified of the event through My Sanford Chart.

Categories: Coronavirus, Health, Local News