Why single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine shouldn’t be scoffed at if available

Johnson and Johnson's single-dose vaccine may have less percentage of effectiveness compared to Pfizer and Moderna, but experts said you shouldn’t turn it down if you’re eligible to get the shot.

An advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration endorsed the Johnson shot Friday, and the FDA commissioner could give final approval for emergency use this weekend. The vaccine would be the first one-dose vaccine option in the U.S. Overall, the vaccine has proved to be 66 percent effective in global trials, and it's 85 percent effective against severe illness and 100 percent effective in preventing death.

"What this means from the data we looked at, that we now have three highly effective vaccines," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Response Taskforce.

Trials found the level of protection lower than the Pfizer and Moderna shots, but virologist Dr. Michael Teng with USF Health explained there’s an important difference when comparing the doses.

"Those two studies the Moderna and the Pfizer studies were conducted at the same time and in that sense, they’re a little bit more comparable than this study that was conducted months later in sort of a different environment in the pandemic," said Dr. Teng.

Johnson and Johnson tested their shot at a time when there were higher infections, more variants and in different countries, Teng said.

Dr. Fauci said the best shot you can get is the one that’s available.

"Importantly, each of them is very effective against severe disease. And virtually, all of them say that you look at the data and it's clear that you get essentially no hospitalizations or deaths in any of them this is very good news," said Fauci.

Dr. Teng said it may take some time for the shots to reach plenty of arms.

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"I think there’s not that many doses currently of this vaccine. I think they only have a few million doses on hand, so it might take them a little bit of time to ramp up production," said Teng.

Johnson and Johnson said it has 4 million doses ready to be distributed immediately. Dr. Teng said he expects the process of getting one to be much easier.

"Say you’re in a rural area that’s not very close to a vaccination center. It’s easier for you to get one shot than it is for you to get back and get a second shot," said Teng.

Johnson and Johnson also did a study testing a two-dose vaccine, seeing whether people who got their single-shot need a booster. But work on those trials is still ongoing.