FDA says J&J 1-dose shot prevents COVID; final decision soon

The FDA says the latest vaccine by Johnson and Johnson is strongly effective at preventing severe illness.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The FDA says the latest vaccine by Johnson and Johnson is strongly effective at preventing severe illness.

“This is a great step forward for the nation, for humanity,” said Executive Chief of Medicine for Care New England Dr. Raymond Powrie

Here are the main differences between this vaccine and the ones from Moderna and Pfizer:

  • One shot vs. two shots
  • Can be stored in a refrigerator for up to three months, whereas Moderna and Pfizer must be kept at freezing temperatures
  • Uses a different technology than the mRNA vaccines

There’s also what appears to be a significant difference in effectiveness – roughly 95 percent for Moderna and Pfizer vs. 66 percent for Johnson & Johnson. Doctors say while that may make people want one over the other, those numbers need context.

Dr. Ashish Jha of Brown University tweeted Tuesday that the number comparisons aren’t fair, because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested at different times and in different places where new strains of the virus were evolving.

Doctors say the Johnson & Johnson shot has proven to be just as effective as the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at reducing hospitalizations and deaths.

“I am concerned about people unnecessarily waiting for the ‘right one,’ and that just slows down our restoration of our society,” said Dr. Powrie.

Most of the people ABC 6 spoke with Wednesday say that since they’ll be in the last phase to get vaccinated, they plan to get whichever one is available.

“The sooner the better,” said Niki Tsironis.

“I don’t think it matters to me, since I’m in like the last group to get it, I just want a vaccine when I can,” said Jaime Dunlap.

According to Dr. Powrie, the main goal, which is to lessen virus transmission to eventually achieve herd immunity, is achieved by taking any of these vaccines.

“Any three of these options will help thwart the virus, and speed our ability to get back to the fullness of life, of family, of economy, that we enjoyed prior to the pandemic,” said Dr. Powrie. “My biggest recommendation would be, if you have a chance to get any of them, get it!”

Advisers to the FDA are slated to debate whether or not to recommend the shot on Friday, meaning it could be approved in the coming days.

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