ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — UR Medicine began vaccinating at-risk patients who are in the process of being discharged from Strong Memorial Hospital. 

The effort is part of a New York State initiative announced earlier this week related to the distribution of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen coronavirus vaccine. 

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The state has allocated a portion of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine supply to hospitals and directed the institutions to offer the vaccine to individuals being discharged from inpatient care, prioritizing long-term care residents and those 65 years or older first, followed by those ages 18-64 with one or more of the currently eligible comorbidities or underlying conditions. 

Dr. Michael Apostolakos is the chief medical officer at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He said most of the patients being discharged will qualify to receive the vaccine, because many patients admitted to the hospital are 65 or older or have comorbidities.

He says only between 10 and 20% of patients being discharged may not be eligible, such as pediatric patients.

He said they received 400 vaccines to start and each week they’ll request more from the state. With the majority of discharges being eligible that will mean around 70 patients per day and between 400 and 500 per week.

“We can work with the patient’s attending and bedside nurse that when the patient gets within 48 hours of discharge we tell them the risks and benefits of the vaccine and offer them the vaccination.”

The J&J will be the vaccine given to these patients. It’s one dose unlike the Pfizer and Moderna, which Dr. Apostolakos said will make the process smoother.

“People admitted to the hospital some are not that ambulatory or may have trouble getting back to the hospital so the fact that we get them while they’re here before they go home and convalescent from their illness we can get them vaccinated and have them be done and not have to return.”

He said it’s still early but so far many patients and families have been excited to receive this vaccine.

“This vaccine is 100% effective in preventing admissions to the hospital due to COVID-19 and preventing death so it’s a very effective vaccine.”

The program will be rolled out in other URMC hospitals in the upcoming weeks.

Any remaining vaccine will be available to non-hospital patients 65 and older.