Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine provides another option

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Food and Drug Administration indicated that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective on Feb. 24.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 and 85% effective against the most serious illness.

While J&J’s vaccine is not as effective as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccine, Dr. Michael Scalzone, executive vice president and chief quality officer at Guthrie, said it provides another option.

“This is terrific news first, just because there’s another option for us,” said Dr. Scalzone. “That just makes more vaccine in the pipeline. So that is the simplest. The second point is it’s a single shot and from a logistic standpoint that’s going to make a huge difference.”

Justin Nistico, DO., infectious disease expert at Arnot Health, said this could be a huge game-changer for people who do not like vaccines.

“No one enjoys the vaccination process because of the concern for side effects and also it could be a little bit sore and painful,” said Dr. Nistico. “Some people obviously do not want to do it more than once.”

While Johnson & Johnson’s effectiveness is lower, Dr. Scalzone said this is not a major concern.

“If we look at the flu vaccine each year, it’s typically about 40 to 60 percent effective,” said Dr. Scalzone. “We can make a significant difference at transmitting flu in the community and preventing people from being hospitalized. But more importantly, if you look at the 40,000 people that were in the J&J study, none were hospitalized and none died. So it prevented disease that requires hospitalization and death and that is really the most important endpoint of any vaccine.”

Darlene Smith, public health director for Steuben County, said we can expect to see this single-shot vaccine coming to the Twin Tiers in later March.

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