“Its going to take time”: Doctors respond to one-dose vaccine announcement by Johnson & Johnson

Local experts respond to single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - While we can all appreciate a reason for hope, it may be too early to get excited about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

There’s no question that a vaccine requiring only one dose would speed up the process of vaccinating Americans. Both of the approved vaccines, Moderna’s and Pfizer’s, require a first and second dose injected roughly three weeks apart.

On January 29, Johnson & Johnson announced the company’s intention to seek emergency use authoritization of their newly developed COVID-19 vaccine requiring only one dose.

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While it’s good news to see continual development of vaccines, this one still needs to face FDA scrutiny and approval.

Johnson and Johnson’s data says the new one injection vaccine is less effective overall. It’s said to be 85% percent effective in preventing the most serious symptoms of COVID-19, as compared to 95% percent effectiveness for Moderna and Pfizer.

It’s also 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness.

So which is more important—being able to more easily vaccinate the masses, or a higher effectiveness for each dose?

We asked NHRMC’s Chief Physician.

“It’s a balance in terms of that effectiveness,” said Dr. Philip Brown. “I think there’s lots of work that needs to be done by the FDA to review the real data, so we don’t know the real answer yet. Even at the reduced rates that we’re seeing, it’s hard to think that it wouldn’t have a significant role in our battle to prevent COVID-19 but we just have to wait on the FDA at this point in time.”

The hospital’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Kamitsuka agreed that it is too early to say, telling WECT we will know a lot more in the coming weeks following the FDA’s process.

Several pharmaceutical companies are also working to develop additional vaccines to fight COVID-19.

For at least the next few months, Dr. Brown says the most important thing is to keep practicing those three w’s.

“I think the most important thing to understand is that it’s going to take time for all of these different things to work together. For the vaccination process to get widespread enough and for, in the meantime, to underscore the importance of hand-washing, wearing masks, and waiting six feet apart all as a way of controlling the virus,” he said.

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