Doctors discourage 'vaccine shopping'

Jennifer Lewke
Created: April 01, 2021 05:32 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It’s too soon to tell whether a mix-up with millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will impact our supply locally, but doctors say the situation is an example of why people shouldn’t be shopping around for a particular type of vaccine.  

Currently, the Finger Lakes region has experienced a steady increase in supply.

“We have seen somewhere in the range of 35,000 doses a week to the region for the last few weeks which is great news,” Dr. Nancy Bennett, the head of the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub, said.

There are also a lot more locations where people can go to get the vaccine.

“We are starting to see that the appointments aren't filling up in the first five minutes as they were back in the beginning,” she added.  

This week, Monroe County gave those setting up appointments online a choice between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, but other locations won’t always tell you what you’re getting before you get there.

“Patients don't know until they get there and some of that is intentional because we don't want to endorse or facilitate vaccine shopping, we think the vaccines that are available are all high-quality and the best vaccine that you can get is the one that is available,” said John Clark, URMC’s administrator of primary care.  

The bottom line is this:

“There's little difference between Moderna and Pfizer. There are some differences with Johnson & Johnson but there's a relatively small supply of Johnson & Johnson in the region right now,” Dr. Bennett said.

With news of the mix-up at the factory that makes the J&J vaccine, that could get worse before it gets better.  

Dr. Bennett suggests those who are eligible sign-up now.

“We don't know what the vaccine supply will be going forward, we don't want people to wait we need to get our community vaccinated as you know the rate of disease is going up in our community and it's a bit of a race between vaccines and the variants and were concerned about that,” Dr. Bennett said.

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