FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine possibly set to be approved by the FDA for emergency use, health departments are reacting to the possibility of a new vaccine.
In a statement to WDVM, the Maryland Department of Health said in part:
“We are encouraged that a third safe and effective vaccine is working its way through the federal emergency use authorization process and are ready to integrate it into our overall distribution plan.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, director of the Frederick County Health Department, said this third vaccine option will give people a choice and also help speed up the process.
“This one dose will definitely speed it up because, for the production, every dose that they manufacture will be available to vaccinate that exact number of individuals versus now with the Pfizer and the Moderna, for every two doses that come off the manufacturing line, then they would vaccinate one person,” Dr. Brookmyer said.
Just having one dose would also reduce the number of time providers need to spend on fully vaccinating one individual. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can also be kept at regular refrigerator temperatures, which increases shelf life and availability.
Based on the research that been presented so far, Dr. Brookmyer said she believes the vaccine will be effective because there is a difference between clinical studies and the effect in real-life interactions. During the clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine proved to have fewer side effects and be more effective in reducing hospitalizations and death.
“In the trials, it has prevented illness and it has prevented death. Any vaccine
that prevents death and severe illness is a vaccine worth getting, especially if the alternative is not getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Brookmyer.
The vaccine is said to be 86% effective. According to Governor Larry Hogan, if the vaccine is approved, it could be available as early as next week.