GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – “That’s 12,000 doses of J and J vaccine right there.”

Vidant Health CEO Dr. Mike Waldrum calls his hospital’s shipment and distribution Wednesday of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine a much-needed tool to get control of the virus.

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“The supply of vaccines is growing pretty significantly, and the entry of Johnson & Johnson is helping us,” Waldrum said. “We have a new highly effective vaccine that in some ways is better because it’s easier it only requires one dose.”

Vaccine supply remains an issue as more people are eligible for shots. Essential workers can now get the vaccine. Another priority group becomes eligible later this month. Waldrum said they will give priority to people at the highest risk of getting COVID-19.

“The supply of vaccine is going to grow over that time period, so there will be more channels and more supply. We are just going to try to be as aggressive as we can because we know it is saving lives,” Waldrum said.

Vidant is also helping Pitt County health workers vaccinate area school employees and childcare workers.

“We believe that’s over 1,000 vaccinated in that group with more scheduled to be vaccinated,” said Pitt County Health Director Dr. John Silvernail.

So far, the county has administered more than 46,000 doses, and Silvernail says every shot counts.

“We’re more than 20% of our population in Pitt County is immune to this by infection or vaccinations, so that’s going to take a bite out of transmissions,” he said.

Vidant executives plan to share doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the Pitt County Health Department.