High hopes for new Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the way?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Today could be a big day in the fight against COVID-19, as an advisory committee to the FDA is expected to approve for emergency declaration the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Alabama health leaders have been saying for weeks now the more vaccines we have the better chance of bringing the pandemic to an end.

At this time there are just two approved vaccines against COVID-19; Pfizer and Moderna. Both are efficient against preventing infection of COVID up to 95%. Johnson and Johnson is lower, at 72%. But Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says don’t discount the vaccine.

“In terms of preventing serious illness and hospitalization and preventing death all three are equivalent. In fact they are identical,” Dr. Harris said.

The biggest plus for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is it is a single dose vaccine and that means more people can be vaccinated quicker against COVID.

“No one that got J and J vaccine died from it and in fact no one had an allergic reaction as we have seen in the MRNA vaccines,” Harris said.

The state health officer says they are confident that this vaccine is safe and no one should put off getting it. The biggest issue with Johnson and Johnson is the rollout will be lower than the two previous vaccines once they were authorized.

“We don’t know about the number of J and J. There have been reports in the media there are two to three million doses ready to ship,” Harris said.

The state health officer said Alabama’s allotment is usually for every million doses national the state will get 15,000 doses. If it’s 20 million Alabama will be getting 300,000. Johnson and Johnson hopes to get 100 million by June.

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