LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear lamented the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Kentucky, the commonwealth has dramatically ramped up the variety of photographs going into arms. Within the week between Jan. eight and Jan. 15, almost 83,000 doses, or 43% of the state’s complete vaccinations, had been administered. Now, the trouble is poised to get a severe shot within the arm with the approaching arrival of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
J&J may current remaining knowledge for its stage three vaccine trial inside weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned over the weekend. Subsequent, will come an utility for emergency use authorization, which the corporate expects to submit in February, adopted by potential approval mid-month. The corporate confirmed this timeline in an announcement to Spectrum Information 1.
The upcoming arrival of a 3rd COVID-19 vaccine — up to now, the Meals and Drug Administration has solely given emergency approval to Pfizer and Moderna — gives hope for an much more strong vaccination effort within the commonwealth, Beshear mentioned Thursday. The vaccine will enable Kentucky to “supplement what we have and pick up our pace,” he mentioned.
The J&J vaccine, the primary in a second wave of prescription drugs to fight COVID-19, can even present some distinct benefits over the 2 vaccines at the moment obtainable. In contrast to the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, J&J’s doesn’t require ultra-cold refrigeration. As an alternative, it may be held at typical fridge temperatures.
This might make the vaccine simpler to distribute in rural areas the place native well being departments may not have entry to the correct freezers, which might value between $10,000 and $15,000. It’s going to additionally enable the vaccine to be distributed past the hospitals, pharmacies, and mass vaccine websites which can be at the moment dealing with the majority of the vaccinations.
“This could be popular, because it could be stored in doctors offices more easily,” former Meals and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottleib said on CNBC last week. “As you push vaccines out into the primary care setting and away from these mass distribution sites, this is going to be an attractive vaccine to use.”
Jessica Daley, vp of strategic provider engagement for the well being care firm Premier, mentioned eliminating the requirement of ultra-cold freezers makes the J&J vaccine extra “user-friendly.”
“The easier you make it, the fewer challenges you put in that process, the better it’s going to be,” she mentioned. “There are so many different places where the supply chain and the management of these vaccines can break down, that the easier you make the storage and handling, the fewer challenges you put in the way of people being successful.”
J&J’s can also be anticipated to be administered in a single dose, moderately than two. This might clear up some logistical complications which have change into clear in current weeks as officers have struggled with whether or not to carry again the second dose of vaccine for a affected person or hope that new provide arrives in time to finish the vaccination. It additionally reduces the necessity for individuals to return to a vaccination website for a booster shot. That has confirmed a battle in locations similar to Florida, the place there are greater than 40,000 people who find themselves overdue for his or her booster shot.
Whereas the outcomes of J&J’s part three trials are nonetheless a pair weeks away, knowledge revealed final week in The New England Journal of Medication has consultants optimistic. It confirmed that 90 p.c of trial individuals had developed antibodies 29 days out from vaccination. Fifty-seven days out from vaccination, the quantity was as much as 100.
“Data is highly encouraging and supports the single inoculation approach that makes this vaccine unique,” Carlos del Rio, an Emory College epidemiologist, tweeted in response to the info.
An open query in regards to the J&J vaccine contains what number of doses will probably be obtainable as soon as it’s authorized. Although the corporate is contracted to offer 12 million doses to the federal authorities by the top of February, Beshear talked about final week that there are considerations in regards to the tempo of manufacturing.
Moncef Slaoui, the top of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine program, mentioned final week that moderately than the 12 million doses, he expects a “single-digit million number of doses available in the second half of February.”
“We’re making an attempt to make that quantity get as near a double-digit quantity as potential after which a bigger quantity in March and a a lot bigger quantity in April,” he added.
In an announcement, a spokesperson for J&J mentioned, “Since early 2020, as we’ve developed our COVID-19 vaccine candidate, we’ve scaled up manufacturing in parallel and are assured in assembly our 2021 provide commitments, together with these signed with governments.”