COVID CASES DROP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES ARRIVE IN SAN DIEGO

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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Diego County

March 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 scenario is improving in San Diego County. On March 7, the county reported 307 new cases, no deaths, and a positive testing rate of just 3 percent – all significantly lower than in recent weeks.

That drop is no doubt due in part to the fact that 12.7% of San Diegans age 16 and up are now fully immunized, and nearly 24% of those eligible have received at least one shot. 

Now, arrival of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in our region will make it easier to get more people vaccinated. The J&J vaccine requires just one shot and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two shots and very cold storage.

Some people have shown hesitancy to getting the latest COVID-19 vaccine given that it was 72% effective in research trials in the United States, compared to about 94% for Moderna and 95% for Pfizer after those vaccines’ required two doses.

However, health officials say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just as effective as its counterparts at preventing serious illness from COVID-19 and was tested against virus variants. Also, all currently available vaccines were 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths during trials.

“San Diegans should get whichever vaccine is available when it’s their turn to get vaccinated,” Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “All three vaccines are excellent at preventing people from getting seriously ill from COVID-19.”

Local vaccination sites are currently providing vaccine to San Diegans in Phase 1A and Phase 1B. Supplies remain limited.

“Regardless of which shot you get, you’ll be protected from serious complications from COVID-19 and will be able to protect others who are waiting their turn to be vaccinated,” Wooten said.

San Diego County remains in the state’s purple tier, but that could soon change. The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis. The next report is scheduled for today, March 9.

More detailed data summaries found on the County’s coronavirus-sd.com website are updated around 5 p.m. daily.