As we start to see the number of cases and hospitalizations slowly go down in areas, a third COVID-19 vaccine has been approved.
Soon, local healthcare workers will be using another vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson single dose, in the fight against COVID-19.
The FDA green lighted the vaccine this weekend and unlike the other two vaccines, it takes only one shot.
“This takes a lot of ease and worry off of people that they can just get their one dose and be done and be fully protected which is wonderful,” said Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan Health District.
Health officials say the Johnson & Johnson version is also easier to store than the other vaccines.
“Its standard pharmacy issued refrigeration. A lot of sites they had to either buy the expensive -72 freezers, they had to keep it on dry ice, rely on distributors or they had to administer the doses in a single day. This will help with some of the logistics in planning,” said AdventHealth Central Texas Chief Medical Officer Dr. Erin Bird.
Many have raised concerns that the single dose vaccine is only 60-70% effective, compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are around 95% effective.
Local health officials say the FDA set a standard requiring the vaccine to be more than 50% efficacious, which is higher than most flu vaccinations.
“Does it prevent those severe hospitalizations and deaths? In the trials with 4,000 people there were no deaths, there were no hospitalizations, during that study,” said Bird.
Texas is set to receive 24,000 doses tomorrow and initially those will go to Houston and Dallas Forth-Worth.
Central Texas could see them as soon as next week.