‘This is Very Exciting’: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Awaits Emergency Use Authorization

DENVER (CBS4) – A third COVID-19 vaccine might soon be available for use in the U.S.

A report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine provides good protection against COVID-19. Final approval could come later this week.

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Overall, the vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 and about 85% effective against the most serious illness.

(credit: CBS)

“This is very exciting,” said Dr. Ross Kedl, a professor of immunology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “It’s another home run.”

While some are quick to point out that both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have higher efficacy rates, Kedl says it’s not as big of a difference as it seems.

“The differences between 80% and 95% are not exactly quibbling, but they’re less significant than the overall message,” Kedl said. “We’re super excited when the flu vaccine has somewhere between a 30 and 60% efficacy.”

According to Kedl, the most promising thing from the analysis of the vaccine released Wednesday is the fact 28 days after inoculation, no one has been to the hospital or died.

“I wouldn’t pass on a vaccine that will keep you out of the hospital,” he said.

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Kedl says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has some advantages as well. It’s one shot rather than two and can be stored for longer periods of time at refrigerator temperatures.

“So that’s going to be an advantage when it comes to accessing more remote locations,” Kedl said.

(credit: CBS)

Two hundred people are part of an ongoing trial for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the University of Colorado Anschutz campus. If approved by the FDA, the vaccine could soon be available around the country.

“I think if you have a chance at this you definitely want to jump at it,” he said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment tells CBS4 the process of distributing the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would be the same as with the other current vaccines. The number of doses the state could order is not yet available.

“If we have an increase in vaccine supply, providers will be able to administer doses to a greater number of Coloradans, and we can hopefully move through the phases quicker,” a spokesperson said via email.

Gov. Jared Polis applauded the FDA’s announcement Wednesday morning.

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“I’m thrilled that a third safe and highly effective vaccine will soon arrive in Colorado. Having a vaccine that only requires one dose will help us move more quickly to end the pandemic, and I encourage the federal government to not only approve, but ramp up supply as quickly as possible. We are ready to use many more vaccine doses than we are currently receiving each week,” Polis said.