FORT MYERS, Fla. — The fight against COVID-19 has a new weapon as the Food and Drug Administration green-lit emergency use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Saturday.
Health experts are calling this vaccine a game-changer because the shot is administered in a single dose unlike the Phizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines which require two doses.
The Johnson and Johnson efficacy has been called into question. Currently Phizer and Moderna are 95% and 94% effective, respectfully, against preventing symptomatic coronavirus infections. Johnson and Johnson is only 66% effective in preventing moderate symptoms and 85% effective in preventing severe symptoms. Jayanta Gupta, Director of the Public Health program at Florida Gulf Coast University, says there should be no cause for concern, as the vaccine is doing exactly what it was designed to do.
"Clinically speaking, what are we interested in? We are interested in reducing the burden on the health care facilities and preventing moderate to severe infections preventing hospitalizations, and in that the Johnson and Johnson (vaccine) is pretty good," explains Gupta.
Johnson and Johnson is planning to ship out four million vaccines over the next week and some could arrive in Florida as early as Monday. Gupta says this will increase the opportunity for people to get vaccinated and any vaccine is a good choice.
"Any vaccine that is available is going to offer wonderful protection. So instead of thinking am I getting the Moderna or Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson, I would think in terms of which vaccine is available immediately," says Gupta.