LEWISTON — The one-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will continue to be in short supply next week, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.

That’s bad news for Diane Johnson, 67, of Lewiston and others worried about allergies.

“When I got the shingles vaccine I had a reaction,” she said. “I got tingling, numbness around the tongue. I went to the ER. The doctor said, ‘Don’t have that shot again.’”

Johnson asked her doctor about her allergies and the vaccines and was advised not to get the two-shot vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. Even with the one-shot vaccine, she said, “my doctor said it was up to me, I’d be taking my chances.”

She wants the one-shot vaccine so she might suffer only one reaction, not two. But she’s called everywhere, to no avail.

Pharmacies have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but told her it’s for school workers, Johnson said.


Shah explained that several weeks ago when the one-shot vaccine was first authorized, Johnson & Johnson emptied its shelves. In that first week Maine received 11,000 doses. The next week it got none, the next week 1,600 and the next week 1,600 again.

By comparison, the state will receive 19,890 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 13,700 of Moderna vaccine next week.

Officials at Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, both in Lewiston, said they don’t know if they’re going to get any.

Central Maine Healthcare, parent company of CMMC, has not received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, spokeswoman Ann Kim said Thursday in an email. “We do not know when or whether we will receive J & J. CMHC has been getting Pfizer and Moderna.”

St. Mary’s Regional Healthcare spokesman Steve Costello said the hospital has a tough time “knowing what we’re going to get ahead of time.”

“We should be seeing more in the coming weeks,” Costello said.

As of this week, St. Mary’s is no longer offering vaccine clinics at the hospital; they’re now offered at the Auburn Mall with Central Maine Healthcare.

Next week, the state plans to begin providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to people who are housebound, because it doesn’t need extreme refrigeration and is more easily distributed door to door, Shah said.

A few local health centers that cater to at-risk populations will receive small amounts of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including 100 does to Androscoggin Home Health Services and 200 doses to St. Mary’s, which runs the B Street Community Health Center, according to Robert Long, spokesman for the CDC.

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