Listen Live
Robert Willett/News & Observer

Robert Willett/News & Observer

North Carolina received the first shipments of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday. An initial wave of the over 80,000 doses expected to hit the state in the coming weeks, according to Governor Roy Cooper.

The single shot vaccine was given emergency use authorization by the FDA last week and will provide the federal government with 100 million doses until the end of May. J&J’s product is said to be less effective at 62% compared to the two-shot variety manufactured by Pfizer. To get the vaccines to market faster, the pharmaceutical giant announced Tuesday they would partner with rival Merck. A one-of-a-kind agreement that will have enough shots to cover the entire US adult population by the end of May.

President Biden is pleased with the progress made by Johnson & Johnson. Enough so, he announced on Tuesday that teachers, school staff and child care workers will receive at least one vaccine dose by the end of March. “Let’s treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is,” Biden said.

Cooper received the first dose of a Pfizer vaccine at WakeMed Raleigh on Wednesday morning.

“As we enter Group 3 prioritization, I’m proud to have received my shot today from North Carolina health workers who have served on the front lines of this pandemic for the past year,” Gov. Cooper said. “These vaccines are safe and effective, and critical to beating this pandemic. Every North Carolinian will have a spot and I encourage them to get their shot.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that all essential workers in Group 3 are eligible to get their vaccine beginning March 3. Vaccinations for some members of Group 4 will begin on March 24.