Detroit mayor turned down J&J vaccine in favor of others

FILE - In this April 23, 2020, file photo, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks in Detroit. Mayor Duggan this week turned down 6,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, with favoring shots from Pfizer and Moderna for now. "Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best," he said Thursday, March 4, 2021. "And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that residents of the city of Detroit get the best." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE - In this April 23, 2020, file photo, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks in Detroit. Mayor Duggan this week turned down 6,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, with favoring shots from Pfizer and Moderna for now. "Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best," he said Thursday, March 4, 2021. "And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that residents of the city of Detroit get the best." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Detroit this week turned down 6,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, favoring shots from Pfizer and Moderna, but said Friday it will accept J&J doses in the state's next allocation.

Mayor Mike Duggan had said Thursday that residents should get the “best” vaccines — from Moderna and Pfizer — conflicting with guidance from top state and federal health officials who caution against comparing the three vaccines and note all provide strong protection against the worst outcomes.

Duggan had also said the allotment of 29,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses “covered everyone who wanted a vaccination this week." On Friday, he called J&J vaccines "a key part of our expansion of vaccine centers.”

No other local health department declined any of the 82,700 J&J shots sent to Michigan this week, the state health department said.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive, said earlier in the week that people who are offered the J&J vaccine should "take it because declining ... could be the difference between life and death.” In a statement Friday, she cited differences in when and where each company conducted its studies, with the Moderna and Pfizer research finished before concerning variants began spreading.

In the U.S., the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95% protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J’s one-dose effectiveness of 85% against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66% when moderate cases were rolled in. The Food and Drug Administration has reported that, just like its predecessors, the J&J shot strongly safeguards against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

“All of the vaccines are safe and effective and I recommend that all vaccines be offered in all communities,” Khaldun said.

White House coronavirus special adviser Andy Slavitt said Friday that the White House talked to the Detroit mayor's office, which called the situation a “misunderstanding.”