Food And Drinks

The Orlando Salvation Army awaits the return of the J&J vaccine


ORLANDO, Florida – Once Tuesday morning a vaccination bus was parked at the Salvation Army men’s house in Orlando, and workers were preparing to give Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who qualified for them and wanted them.

What you need to know

  • Salvation Army: The weekly vaccination event generated high demand for J&J vaccines
  • The location appeared to be popular with residents and workers in downtown Orlando
  • Official: “We look forward to having the vaccination bus back on our property.”

Moments later the bus was gone.

“We had people in line and then the CDC announcement came out and the bus immediately shut down and left the site,” said Robert Glinka, chief operating officer and business manager of the Salvation Army’s Orlando Area Command.

This shows the effect of the Tuesday morning statement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers and Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials recommended “out of caution” that Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine offerings should be suspended after six recipients developed a rare disease involving blood clots.

Florida has immediately paused all Johnson & Johnson vaccines nationwide, including at federal government-sponsored locations such as the Valencia College West campus.

“We’re grateful that the CDC has taken a proactive approach to finding out what it’s all about,” Salvation Army’s Glinka told Spectrum News 13 on Wednesday. He also said he was excited to see the vaccination bus return.

The Orlando Salvation Army had advertised a partnership between the Florida Department of Health and Matrix Medical on Facebook to administer weekly Johnson & Johnson shots in the parking lot of their men’s home near Colonial Drive north of downtown Orlando. Matrix Medical has locations across Florida and the United States

Glinka noted high demand for the walk-up vaccination event, which he believed usually took place on Tuesdays. Allocations for the site started at 250 cans and were always fully used, he said.

“The demand was so great that … I think they came up with 400 shots this week,” said Glinka.

The vaccination partnership kept the site open to anyone who met Florida’s requirements, and Glinka said the site is popular with residents and workers across the area, including downtown Orlando.

“We serve the community at large,” he said.

He emphasized the popularity of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires one dose, as opposed to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses at least three or four weeks apart.

“Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where you will be … to get your second shot,” said Glinka. “Johnson & Johnson was accepted by the community.”

The vaccination bus has served additional locations in Orlando on a daily basis, including parks and churches in underserved communities, Glinka said.

When asked what specific communities the bus serves and whether it temporarily needs Pfizer or Moderna doses for delivery, a spokeswoman for the Matrix Medical Network referred Spectrum News to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Spectrum News is waiting for an answer from this agency.

Regarding the Salvation Army, Glinka said the organization is not looking for other vaccine suppliers.

“The bottom line,” he said, “we look forward to having the vaccination bus back on our property so we can continue to serve the local community.”


Janet Smith