Oklahoma expected to receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — As state officials continue to track Oklahoma’s progress through the phased vaccination efforts, health leaders say the Sooner State will soon get the latest COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use Saturday, making it the third vaccine available in the United States and the first that only takes one dose to protect against the coronavirus.

J&J’s vaccine protects against the worst effects of COVID-19 after one shot, and it can be stored up to three months at refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to handle than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which must be frozen.

The two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 while the J&J vaccine was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 and 66% effective in moderate cases.

Following the vaccine’s approval, the company announced that it was shipping nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine on Sunday night.

Oklahoma State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed says that Oklahoma is expecting to receive about 31,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

While the FDA found J&J’s vaccine safe and effective, some experts fear that lower effectiveness could feed public perceptions that J&J’s shot is a “second-tier vaccine.”

J&J’s vaccine was tested in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa at a time when more contagious mutated versions of the virus were spreading.

That wasn’t the case last fall when Pfizer and Moderna were wrapping up testing, and it is still not clear if their numbers would hold against the most worrisome of those variants.

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