Local medical experts tout Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Aside from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, a third option with Johnson & Johnson might be available soon.

The company is hoping to be granted FDA approval on the vaccine by the end of the month.

Unlike the other two, it requires only one shot and doesn’t need to be stored in subzero temperatures prior to use.

But experts say the vaccine options have one critical thing in common: they are immensely effective at preventing severe bouts of COVID-19.

Chattanooga-based pulmonary specialist, Mike Czarnecki, touted the new vaccine’s early data as promising.

“After about 29 days, you know, you have 90 percent neutralizing tighters, a little bit longer it would be 100 percent it appears to be effective against the severe disease. All based upon the, what we call, it’s an NIH sponsored ensemble trial,” says Czarnecki.

And as far as side effects, Dr. Czarnecki says the data shows there isn’t much reason to worry.

“The control group reported more side effects than the vaccine arm. So right now it looks like it’s very effective with mild and very limited side effects – sore muscles, like your typical flu vaccine that you would get,” he says.

Dr. Jay Sizemore with Erlanger says that given the one-shot of dosage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it may also lead to increased accessibility within poor and rural communities.

“It’s easier to store – and right now from the way it’s been studied it’ll only require a single dose. So I think all of those make it attractive to get out and in smaller settings, maybe more rural communities where we can actually get vaccines in people’s arms,” says Dr. Sizemore.

And even though the efficacy rates with Johnson & Johnson range in the high 60s to 70s, he says that the bottom line is each vaccine option is showing the ability to save people from having to go to the hospital.

“We’re not seeing people who get this vaccine get hospitalized and we’re not seeing people who get this vaccine die. And so that’s how it’s very similar. So the efficacy numbers that were reported – 66 percent, 72 percent, they are what they are but the big number is zero percent hospitalized, zero percent dying,” Sizemore explains.

The FDA has scheduled a meeting for next Thursday to discuss Johnson & Johnson’s request for emergency use authorization.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Health, Local News

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