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Oklahoma health experts weigh in on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

johnson & johnson vaccine medical
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 07:57:18-05

TULSA, Okla. — Johnson & Johnson released results from phase three of its COVID vaccine trials.

The company plans to apply for Emergency Use Authorization in the next week. Oklahoma health experts said the vaccine could be in the state before March.

“I’d anticipate their vaccine will become available some time towards the end of February," Dr. Douglas Drevetz, University of Oklahoma Health Chief of Infectious Diseases, said.

Results from the phase three trials show 66 percent efficacy in preventing moderate COVID cases and 85 percent efficiency in severe coronavirus contractions.

In trials conducted in the U.S., Latin America, and South Africa, the trial report shows the vaccine performed best in the states with a 72 percent prevention rate.

Pfizer and Moderna's clinical trials turned efficacy rates over 90 percent.

READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine proves effective in trial, but less so than Moderna, Pfizer

“There’s still great benefit in getting a vaccine like that and getting it out into the community," Dr. Drevetz said. "They suggested it was incredibly safe and effective in different ages as well as different ethnicities.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-time shot. Pfizer and Moderna both provide split-dose vaccines.

Dr. Drevetz said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require freezing cold storage making it easier to distribute.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported more than 10 percent of eligible Oklahomans are vaccinated. The state ranks seventh in the country in first dose vaccinations.

“I think we will be ahead of many other states in terms of finding that magic number the so-called herd immunity where it’s harder and harder for the virus to try to find somebody to infect," Dr. Drevetz said.

However, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still requires FDA and CDC approval.

Dr. Drevetz suggests getting whichever vaccine becomes available first, rather than waiting specifically for the Johnson & Johnson dose.

He said immunity from the third vaccine grows stronger over time. Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines provide roughly 50 percent efficacy after the first dose and over 90 percent efficacy after both doses, according to health experts.

If approved, Johnson & Johnson plans to distribute 100 million doses by June.

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