BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) said it expects its confirmed allotment of 37,900 doses of the one-shot, easier-to-use Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered sometime this week.
That news comes after the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a federal advisory panel within the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voted unanimously Sunday to recommend the country’s third COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 and older.
ACIP’s decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) action Saturday authorizing the vaccine for emergency use for people 18 and older. After rigorous trials and evaluation, the FDA has found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be safe and effective, stated LDH. It has been authorized for use, joining the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines.
“We are hopeful over the coming weeks and months that this third vaccine will help ease supply constraints and bring America and Louisiana one step closer to ending this pandemic,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “This is a very good vaccine, and very exciting news. When it’s your turn, I urge you to take whatever vaccine you can get your hands on. Passing up the opportunity could literally cost you your life.”
“Like the other COVID vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths — our most urgent, important goal,” stated LDH officials on their website. “To date, Louisiana has lost 9,608 residents to COVID.”
Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is given in one dose. A single-dose vaccine could be especially beneficial for people who have difficulty taking time off work, and may offer more protection faster than the other two vaccines, which require two shots three and four weeks apart.
Also, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a more durable vaccine, which makes it easier to handle, stated LDH. It can last up to three months in the refrigerator, whereas the other vaccines must be stored at very cold temperatures.
“Our goal is to ensure everyone in Louisiana has the opportunity to get the COVID vaccine,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “I encourage all residents to ask questions, get the facts and begin conversations with your doctor or other medical professionals in your communities now so you are ready when it’s your turn.”
The data and information underpinning the FDA’s action can be found online: https://www.fda.gov/media/146217/download