Vaccines

Detroit Mayor Is Wrong To Turn Down J&J COVID-19 Vaccines

"The best vaccine for you is the first one you can get."

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"The best vaccine for you is the first one you can get," advise most public health experts. Michigan Department of Health & Human Services spokesperson Lynn Sutfin concurs: "Michiganders should make the choice to receive any vaccine that becomes available to them."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan apparently disagrees.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the mayor declined to accept a shipment of 6,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine. Why? At a press conference on Tuesday, the mayor asserted, "Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the city of Detroit get the best."

What does the mayor mean by "best"? Duggan stated, "The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 95% effective if you get two shots. Johnson & Johnson is one shot, which is nicer, but it's about 67% effective."

Actually, in the United States arm of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) clinical trial, the vaccine's ability to prevent moderate to severe infection was 72 percent and it is 85 percent effective at preventing severe disease. In addition, the J&J vaccine has been shown to be effective against the new, more contagious COVID-19 variants that are now spreading across the country. And it is likely that many citizens would prefer the convenience of getting a one-and-done J&J shot as opposed to waiting nearly a month to get a second Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

But more importantly, all three vaccines are essentially 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. Protecting Detroit's citizens against those severe outcomes by taking advantage of available vaccine doses would seem to be a worthy endeavor. After all, a slower rate of vaccination means more lives lost.

It bears mentioning that Detroit will not receive additional doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to replace the J&J doses it rejected.

As Crain's Detroit Business points out, the city lags behind other local jurisdictions and the state in the percentage of citizens already vaccinated. In Detroit, 11 percent of adults have been vaccinated, while that figure is 16.5 percent for neighboring Macomb County; 19.1 percent for Oakland County; 18.6 percent for outer Wayne County; and 18.5 percent for Michigan as a whole. Possibly owing to Duggan's decision, both Macomb County and Oakland County happily received more doses of the J&J vaccine than they were expecting. It's worth noting that the median household incomes for Macomb County, Oakland County, and Detroit are $63,000, $80,000, and $31,000, respectively, meaning the mayor's rejection of the J&J vaccine will impact disadvantaged populations.

Misleading Americans into thinking that the J&J vaccine is somehow "second-class" could also set back the goal of reaching herd immunity. That involves vaccinating as many Americans as quickly as possible in order to get to the point where the virus cannot circulate widely throughout the population.

Duggan says that the city can meet the current demand for vaccinations with its current allocation of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Demand, however, is set to surge in the next few weeks as Michigan begins to offer vaccinations to people over age 50. Detroiters waiting longer for vaccination appointments later this month may disagree with what the mayor thinks is "best" for them.

NEXT: Texas Has Hundreds of Thousands of Coronavirus Carriers. The Governor Is Worried About 'Hundreds' of COVID-Positive Migrants.

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  1. We could instead let people purchase whatever vaccine they wish in a free market setting, but that’s not an America run by Democrats, so Reason wants no part of it.

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    3. Where do they oppose that? What I like about Reason writers is they usually try to advocate politically realistic options. So yes in libertopia we might have a fully free market in vaccines but in the real world that’s not on the table, but at the very least we can reasonably try to persuade governors and mayors not to reject perfectly suitable vaccines for stupid reasons.

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    4. How stupid of Mayor Duggan to turn down the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccines. A lot of people, due to allergic reactions, and other reasons, are unable to get second doses of whatever vaccines they get, so the Johnson & Johnson vaccine suits such people perfectly. That’s depriving some people of the right to get the Covid-19 vaccine and protection, which is totally unfair!

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  2. “”Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the city of Detroit get the best.””

    I wonder if that applies tio car manufacturers too ?

    1. There is exactly one dealership selling new cars and one-half an operating auto manufacturing plant in the entire City of Detroit.

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    2. Any vaccine will help. I got my first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine at my healthcare provider center this past Sunday, and I’m glad of it. I’ll be getting my second dose of this vaccine on Sunday, March 28th, at the same healthcare center and location, and same time: at 11:10 in the morning.

    3. Ahahahahahahahahaha

      1. Too funny hpearce

  3. An article I read elsewhere said that this was the main point: “Duggan says that the city can meet the current demand for vaccinations with its current allocation of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.”

    The major didn’t want the vaccine shipment because, in their judgement, they already had enough of the others. He didn’t want to have it wasted sitting on a shelf. That seems less worthy of criticism, if true.

    1. You mean there might be more to a story than Reason is presenting? Why I never.

      1. Yeah, and it’s right in the source article (I guess Bailey jumps right to the comments section like we all do):

        “We now have clear assurance from the state that Detroit’s full allocation of Moderna/Pfizer will continue and that J and J vaccines will be additional. Based on that assurance, the city is proceeding to set up a separate J and J vaccination site and will offer it to Detroiters as an additional option.”

        1. The Free Press this morning reported Duggan as saying what Ron quotes. Since then there have been changes, especially after the White House clapped back. I really thought better of Duggan (I live in the area, and have met him). But I think he’s now retracted his statement. Ron got it right as of this morning, however.

    2. “if true” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there. Because it’s pretty manifestly not true. “Current demand” is based on the government’s own distribution schedule. If they had more doses, they could accelerate that schedule. In other words, the city is both defining the “demand” and determining that they can meet it.

      By the way, the biggest advantage of the J&J vaccine is that it can sit on a shelf. Unlike the other two vaccines, the J&J vaccine can be stored in a regular refridgerator and requires no complicated temperature protocols. That means doses in partially-used containers don’t get wasted and the vaccine can be more efficiently distributed.

      1. Yeah, but we would have to change the plan. Do you know how long it takes to change a plan?

      2. ‘ “Current demand” is based on the government’s own distribution schedule.’

        True, but it is the state government that sets the distribution schedule, so the mayor doesn’t have much control over it. Arguably, what happened is actually a good outcome: instead of vaccinating a 50-64 year old that is at moderate risk of being hospitalized with COVID, the vaccine will be injected into a higher risk 65+ year old in a neighboring county. The big question is why are 65+ year olds in Detroit far less likely to want the vaccine than in other parts of the state?

  4. What is this ‘Detroit’ you speak of ?

    1. A Democrat controlled, bankrupt, crime-ridden, hell-hole since 1973.

    2. It’s where Gretchen Whitmer keeps her black people.

      1. ouch. winner.

      2. Oh, come on now, Unicorn Abattoir! Detroit has been mostly black since the late-1960’s. It’s got nothing to do with Gretchen Whitmer!

        1. Many of Detroit’s _suburbs_ have been mostly black for nearly as long. Detroit’s Corruptocrats long ago gave themselves the electorate they wanted, by driving nearly everyone honest or productive of whatever color out of the city.

          I’m surprised that there is even a little bit of the automobile industry remaining there – not that the Big 3 (now Big 2) aren’t infested with their own parasites. I used to work for a contract manufacturer that mostly assembles electronics for 1st and 2nd tier automobile parts suppliers. When I located all the customer visits related to auto parts that I made over 12 years, all but one were in an arc 50 miles from Detroit, running from Toledo to about 20 miles south of Flint. (Flint is the only Michigan city with a more corrupt and toxic government than Detroit.) The one exception was in western Michigan.

  5. “Detroit Mayor (D) Is Wrong”

    Simplified, fact checked, headline.

  6. What other products won’t the mayor allow in the city?

  7. There is some grumbling already that J&Js vaccine is being offered to bipoc people because it is less effective. So there – it’s whiteys fault.

  8. >>And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the city of Detroit get the best.

    lol like running water and buildings with four walls? three is not enough.

    1. What do you want for a dollar?

  9. I see the leftie myth machine is still going on social media.

    Funny how the left spreads disinformation and gets rewarded for it by Twitter.

    1. I think that it’s the Right that’s been spreading all this misinformation and promoting all those conspiracy theories that are going around.

  10. Mayor Mike Duggan is an idiot. He an example of someone given more information than he can handle. The J&J is not a lesser vaccine it is just different and if you get a large share of your population vaccinated those differences will evaporate.

  11. Tried and true Democratic Party values.

  12. Well I have never shopped for anything and said “do you have one that is not as good as all others?” You do? Well that’s the one for me.

    1. So you buy the absolute best car available for sale is the US every time? Maximum capability, reliability and features, cost be damned?

    2. Well, I have waited for a vaccine that is much less subject to mishandling due to extreme temperature requirements. As it is equally effective (100% for all) at eliminating hospitalization and/or death. a slightly higher risk of actual infection is acceptable against the benefits. If you get the Communist Chinese Virus after a J&J vaccination, it will just be the “second shot”.

  13. Wow. A decision so poor it’s hard to believe it’s based on mere stupidity. Pure evil perhaps?

    1. The position is “non-partisan”; read as (D).

  14. More hair splitting about a flu we’d already have herd immunity to if not for cheerleading by WuFlu enthusiasts like Ronald Bailey. Fuck you Ron.

  15. My mom is a Baltimore City special education teacher with 33 years in the system. She is putting in her retirement papers this coming Monday. She was tired of being vilified for waiting for her Covid shot. She said the media abuse was the last straw. Mom will be fine though. A pension of $3440/month with excellent medical, prescription drugs, dental and optical. I hope all you anti teacher types out there enjoy your jobs because you are never going to retire. Ha! Ha!

    1. Another reason the tax payer funded pension system should be abolished. A poor city made poorer by the “obligation” to keep paying someone for nothing.

      1. Annie’s mother put in her time doing a job that not everyone will do or has the skills to do. She has a right to that pension, she earned it. If you want a pension get the skills necessary and apply for a job that provides a pension. Otherwise be quiet and move on.

        1. Nope. Tax payers should not be funding pensions. Period.

      2. The pension system for both government and private industry is shockingly underfunded. Guess who will be on the hook for that. And it’s why virtually no private companies offer pensions (fixed benefit) as retirement plans any more.

    2. Good! If she doesn’t want to do her job anymore, she should quit. Everyone else should do their fucking jobs. Like healthcare and first responders and Publix workers have been for the past year. Time to man up. Or put on your big girl panties, whichever you prefer.

    3. She probably graduated college at 22, so 33 years as a teacher mean she’s retiring at 55 or 56 and will most likely live off the taxpayers without working for another 25 to 30 years – assuming that her pension is protected against the massive inflation that Biden and other politicians supported by her union are working to cause.

      The people that work in non-government jobs to support her and all the other government employees can’t get a deal like that – because when we negotiate for salary and benefits, the other side of the negotiation is actually trying to keep the costs affordable. When the NEA and other government employee unions negotiate, it is with, not against, politicians currying support by giving away other people’s money.

      1. You could get a deal like that the same way she did.
        Nobody likes a whiner.
        Quit your job, get elected to the school board, and fix the problem.

        1. Vapid argument. The criticism is of the tax payer funded trough not failing to feed at said trough.

  16. In this nation where we ALL are guaranteed a REPUBLICAN form of government, (which means there are three separate branches of government, a legislative, an xecutive, and a judicial) each with narrow and clearly distinct powers/authorities.

    In such a guvernment WHY is a MAYOR (executive” bothering his effete self declaring what vaccines the citizens in “his” city will get and not get? And when did HE get his license to practice medicine or make pharmaceutical decisions that affect the people of the city? Should that not be left to the medical proffession?

    But these days, mere mayors all seem to think they are not “just” mayora, but Lord High Mayors, in short, kinglets.

    Each individual present within that city MUST be able to freely decide between vaccine A, B, C, or D none of the above. Mayor should have no say. HE is not the director of public health.

    1. Excellent point.
      However, in the battle of theory vs. actuality, actuality wins.

  17. Well this article disappoints in a big way by failing to mention how J&J has committed and been convicted for multiple felonies . A terrible malignancy they continue to promote even after clear evidence that the baby powder with asbestos caused cancer also
    reflects a substantial disregard of the public health risks they willingly accept even as it confronts class action lawsuits.
    How in the world does someone get to be a science writer and omit such startling background facts ?

    1. The pension system for both government and private industry is shockingly underfunded. Guess who will be on the hook for that. And it’s why virtually no private companies offer pensions (fixed benefit) as retirement plans any more.

  18. The untold story is that the J + J shot is actually MORE effective overall than the Pfizer and Moderna shots after one shot. Where the story is bring framed improperly by politicians and the media is that the J and J shot is the first one that works well enough after the first shot to roll it out that way, and that was viewed as a positive because they can get it into more arms more quickly and they don’t need to rely on people showing up within the window specified for the second shot. In addition, the J + J effectiveness % includes several of the variants that have shown up while the others were not tested against those (they hadn’t shown up at that point).

    In addition, while the fact a fetal cell line was part of its development will turn off some religious people from getting the J + J vaccine, it should attract others who refuse the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine because it utilizes a technique used in an approved Ebola vaccine for several years now, while the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines has never been approved before (the long term effects are not known and the people taking those vaccines are actually participants in history’s largest late stage clinical trial. In fact, the 40,000+ people in the Pfizer trial that was used to justify its EUSA are being monitored until the end of 2022 to see if any long term adverse “events” arise).

    1. Good points. This is a another case where people can’t see the “forest for the trees”. We need to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible and need to minimize the school yard quibbling.

  19. With over 50% of the population with at least one dose and near all of the at risk population vaccinated Israel is reopening cafes, schools and other public spaces.

    This is NOT herd immunity a term often misused. What has happened is that there are far fewer serious cases among those vaccinated. There is still a significant transmission rate and the health minister has warned that another lockdown could occur if needed.

    1. Taking into account how many people are immune from being infected including those that were asymptomatic they are well over 70% and the virus has very few left to infect. That is herd immunity. The US has vaccinated the vulnerable population and a percentage of those over 65 and the numbers are dropping as we approach herd immunity. The younger population has continued to mostly work and be exposed with a large percentage already being infected so herd immunity will be reached over the next month.

  20. We need herd mentality to get to that ‘herd immunity.’

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