UVA Health experts say Johnson & Johnson vaccine logistically efficient

Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.(Johnson and Johnson)
Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:29 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A single-dose COVID-19 vaccine may be authorized for emergency use in just a matter of days.

The FDA recently confirmed that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective. This highly anticipated vaccine does not require a second dose, nor does it need to be stored in ultra cold freezers.

“This is a public health war and just like in any war, the more weapons you have, the better prepared you are. I think this is a good weapon to have for its logistical, you know, more ease of distribution, that one shot efficacy. And I think this will be a big step toward trying to get to heard immunity,” said Dr. Taison Bell, a critical care physician with UVA Health.

Despite reports of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine not being as effective as the others, Bell said the context of vaccine testing is key.

“The only way that we can really say that one vaccine performed less compared to others, was if we compared them directly head to head. We have to remember that the Pfizer and Moderna trials were both done at a different time with less of these variants circulating around,” Bell said. “The J&J vaccine was done in multiple locations, and we knew that the variants were circulating and we’ve seen that they can at least have an effect on the neutralizing antibody that you can have against the SARS-CoV-2.

Bell said the vaccine is effective in not only helping prevent infection, but also in minimizing hospitalization for infected patients.

Logistically, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could also help make vaccine distribution more equitable, especially for marginalized communities who are already at high risk of getting the virus, but lack the resources to get their shot.

“Of the three, if you wanted something like a vaccine van that could go into a community, this would be the candidate that could do that more easily than the others. Obviously the one-dose makes that easier as well, too, because you don’t have to do a follow-up,” Bell said.

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