What to Know: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Devin Martin
Created: February 24, 2021 05:46 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- We’ve all heard about the COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, now the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to be approved as early as next week.

The FDA says the vaccine meets requirements for emergency use authorization.

Mayo Clinic vaccine researcher Dr. Robert Jacobson says this new vaccine is giving health officials optimism about what the future of the pandemic looks like.

"This vaccine has been shown to be very effective against severe COVID-19 disease with just one dose, so it's really promising,” Dr. Jacobson said.
           
There's one key difference between the Johnson and Johnson vaccine compared to the Pfizer and Moderna, this vaccine is a single dose.

If you get one of the others, you'll need two doses. But - all these vaccines will affect you the same.

"That's different from the mRNA vaccines. With the Pfizer and Moderna, vaccine you inject MNRA that are wrapped in tiny little fat bubbles that go into the cells and the MNRA triggers our bodies to make proteins. That allows our body to make immunity to spike proteins and thus ward off COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Jacobson said.

So what's in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that makes it different? The answer may surprise you.

 “It’s instead a virus that's injected but it's been altered so it can't replicate but the virus is taken into the cells where it was injected. Just the way a virus might infect us, it tricks our body into making that immunity to the spike protein which is then released into the body and then the body makes immunity to spike protein and to COVID-19,” Dr. Jacobson said.

The Centers for Disease Control says both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have to be in a freezer before going into someone’s arm, but for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it doesn't need to be stored in freezing temperatures.

"This is a vaccine we might be able to use across the county in places where we have problems with storage and transportation. We may have an answer as early as the 26th of February with the review of the data. We may in a few weeks have that vaccine with an authorization from the FDA,” Dr. Jacobson said.

Even the Minnesota Department of Health agrees, they're impressed by the outlook of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

"We're not sure when vaccines will start arriving in Minnesota but we expect it should be in the short term. The fact that this is highly effective and a single dose vaccine is significant. As these decisions are made, certainly more positive news on the vaccine front,” Kris Ehresmann, director of MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology said.


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