Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a potential “game changer,” health expert says

J&J vaccine trials

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona is a major testing site for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with trials in Tucson and Phoenix.

“It could be a gamechanger in the U.S. It’s such a flexible vaccine,” said Will Humble, the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

He said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has several benefits. It can be kept at normal refrigeration and only requires one shot compared to Moderna & Pfizer which require 2 doses.

Johnson & Johnson reports, the vaccine is 72% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 in the U.S. 28 days after vaccination.

“If we can get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine distributed into pharmacies directly, without having the state micromanage where it goes, I think we can have really good progress in vaccinating lower income neighborhoods,” Humble said.

The Food and Drug Administration is set to review the vaccine for emergency approval Feb. 26. If approved, Humble said Arizona could have deliveries arriving as soon as March 1 or 2.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested against variants through trials that ran around the globe. Data shows it was 57% effective in South Africa.

“Johnson and Johnson showed really similar results no matter where the trial was conducted, including in South Africa, so that’s a really encouraging thing,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson reports more than 200,000 people have participated in its trials worldwide.

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