Doctor involved in Johnson & Johnson trial says single-dose vaccine is a 'game-changer'

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 21:20:25-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn.(WTVF) — A local doctor said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate is a game-changer because it’s administered in a single dose.

Dr. Buddy Creech said, "We’re really excited that we have another tool in our arsenal."

Early information indicates that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine candidate is 85% effective in preventing severe disease. "That’s really important," Creech said.

At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Creech was in charge of a team collecting data from around 100 local residents in the trial. Across the country, research clinics participated to ensure transparency.

"One of the reasons why this is such an exciting development is it really represents a second class of vaccines that we now have in addition to the mRNA vaccines," Creech said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is made differently, so having an alternative could be helpful for the rare group of people who are allergic to certain ingredients.

"Maybe because of a history of allergies, or maybe because of other medical conditions they have," Creech said.

In addition, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is a single dose that can be stored in a fridge, which is a huge step in improving accessibility. Some vaccines have to be used in a couple of hours once thawed, and stored in ultra-low freezers.

"I think we’re seeing across the country right now the operational challenges of giving individuals two shots," he said.

While Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines are believed to be more overall effective at 95%, Dr. Creech said folks shouldn't get caught up in the numbers. Creech said, "There may be ways to improve it, but if I’m given the choice between Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, I think the one that’s right in front of me is the one that I will want to get."

Here’s some data from Johnson & Johnson:

  • The topline safety and efficacy data are based on 43,783 participants accruing 468 symptomatic people
  • It’s 66% effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination
  • 72% in the United States, 66% in Latin America, and 57% effective in South Africa due to the new strain
  • The vaccine candidate was 85% effective in preventing severe disease
  • If authorized, it can remain stable for two years at -20°C (-4°F), and for at least three months stored at temperatures of 2-8°C (36°F–46°F)

Dr. Creech said there’s still a lot of work to be done. "I think the next steps are really exciting. We likely will do more to make sure these vaccines work against the new variants that appear on the world stage as the virus continues to mutate," Creech said.

The company will request emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in February.