Hawaii plans brand-specific vaccination sites to allow people to pick their shot

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 4:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - People getting vaccinated could soon have the option to pick which brand of COVID shot they want.

“You won’t be in a situation where you go to a POD where you can pick one, two or three there on the shelf. It’s going to be offered at certain PODs (points of dispensing),” said Dr. Sarah Kemble, acting state epidemiologist.

“You can look online or call ahead to the site to see which vaccine is being offered and make your selection in that way.”

That appointment system would allow people to choose between the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson brands, based on the vaccination site.

Of the three, the Johnson & Johnson version is the only brand that is delivered in a single dose.

The 66% efficacy rate is lower than the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

While not as effective, the Johnson & Johnson one-shot option makes it attractive for many people.

“This one seems to be less likely to give you the two days of aches and chills so that might be appealing to some people.” said Kemble.

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said some PODs use different vaccines on different days.

“For example, there could be three days a week where there’s a regularly scheduled Pfizer clinic,” he said, adding the other days could be the Moderna brand. That allows the person to make an appointment based on the vaccine being distributed that day.

Right now, there are no consistent Johnson & Johnson clinics in Hawaii.

The state received 11,900 of the brand’s vaccine doses last week but none are expected this week or next week. Once it ramps up, PODs specific to that brand will open giving people that third option.

“We don’t have enough of the supply yet,” Raethel said.

Until Hawaii gets to that point, health experts say you should get the brand that is available to you.

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