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‘It Will Totally Help Us:’ Local Health Officials Optimistic With Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Approval – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Saturday night. The one-shot vaccine is now our country’s 3rd vaccine.

Our country is now another step ahead in the fight against COVID-19.

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A local health official, Dr. Lee Harrison, who is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, shared how exciting this news is.

“It’s great,” he said. “The more, the merrier. We now have a 3rd vaccine that prevents the most severe outcomes.”

It’s a one-and-done vaccine, which eliminates the challenge of getting a second dose.

“It is different that it’s given in a single dose, which is great and it also can be stored in the refrigerator which makes it logistically easier than the other vaccines that are out there,” Dr. Harrison explained.

The FDA said this shot offers strong protection against serious illness, hospitalizations, and death.

Dr. Harrison said the J&J vaccine works differently compared to the other two available vaccines.

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“All 3 vaccines give instructions to your body to make the coronavirus spike protein but it’s done in different ways,” he said. “This new vaccine is done by putting the gene for the spike protein inside of virus that causes the common cold so it’s a weakened virus that causes the common cold, so it can cause the common cold but it delivers the instructions to make the spike protein.”

So could this new addition speed up America’s race against the virus that has already caused half a million deaths?

“It will totally help us, the only issue right now is the amount of vaccine for the J&J Vaccine is limited so they’re talking about 4 million doses right away and 20 million doses in March so it’s relatively limited but it will definitely help and then given the increased availability of the other vaccines, we’re going to get a lot of people vaccinated,” said Dr. Harrison.

Dr. Harrison said we still need to avoid getting COVID-19 and just be ready to roll up our sleeves.

“The more people we can get vaccinated in Allegheny County and the state, the quicker we are going to get back to a more normal life,” Dr. Harrison said.

Dr. Harrison said the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices will have a meeting on Sunday then states will be looking to the CDC for guidance on how the new vaccine should be implemented.

We could be seeing shipments of a few million doses being divided among all states as early as Monday.

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To learn more about the J&J Vaccine, head to the FDA website.

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