UAB professor: Johnson & Johnson COVID shot a ‘fantastic vaccine’

Alabama to receive more than 40,000 J&J doses this week

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama is expected to get its shipment of the new, one dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson this week.

On Monday, the Alabama Department of Public Health said Alabama is due to get more than 40,000 doses of the newly approved vaccine.

UAB has worked on the Johnson & Johnson trials. The school is also studying the impact of a two shot J&J vaccine.

Dr. Paul Goepfert, a UAB professor of medicine and director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, said this vaccine does the job when it comes to preventing severe COVID illness and hospitalizations.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be shipped out to healthcare providers around the country this week. Dr. Goepfert said the vaccine is very effective when it comes to protecting you against COVID-19.

“If you get COVID, yes that is not great, but it will keep you out of the hospital and you will not die from it,” Dr. Goepfert said.

The other two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are rated at 95% effective against COVID while J&J is rated as 72% effective. Still, when it comes to protecting against severe illness, Dr. Goepfert said there is little difference.

“This is a fantastic vaccine that offers protection with just one dose,” Goepfert said.

The vaccine is said to be effective in protection 56 days after taking the single shot.

The South African variant virus is more resistant to vaccines, but Dr. Goepfert said the studies show the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still packs a punch against it.

“The J&J vaccine is still 85% effective against severe disease in this variant strain. So far, all of those reasons those vaccines could be a game changer,” Goepfert said.

Goepfert said those who had COVID-19 will be better off getting this vaccination than not getting one.

UAB is studying the impact of two doses of the J&J vaccine. Dr. Goepfert said booster shots will likely be needed to address variant viruses.

All three pharmaceutical companies are looking at variant viruses. Goepfert said future flu shots could be incorporated to address COVID.

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