(CBSDFW.COM) – New data released this week shows the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine isn’t as effective as the other shots already available in the U.S., but experts say it still has some advantages.
A global study found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease, but it did even better for patients in the U.S.
“When looking at the United States population, they saw efficacy of 72%,” said Dr. Meenakshi Ramanathan, an assistant professor of pharmacotherapy at the UNT Health Science Science.
Overall, the vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe disease with a single shot.
“It’s keeping people out of the hospital, based on the data that we have,” said Dr. Meenakshi. “So that’s also wonderful news for this specific vaccination.”
However, it’s still less effective than the two vaccines already authorized in the United States, which are 94 to 95% effective after two doses.
“If we didn’t have the Pfizer and Moderna, we’d say this is knocking it out of the park,” said Dr. Robert Gottlieb, principle investigator of the Johnson & Johnson clinical trial at the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute. “This is what we need.”
He says people should take the first vaccine available to them, no matter which type it is.
“I will still have 85% more protection that I did before, and that’s good enough for me,” Dr. Gottlieb said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn’t require ultracold storage like the other two, which could help increase distribution and availability.
“I would assume about maybe a fourth to a third of Americans will probably end up getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, for those reasons of single dose in terms of compliance, being inexpensive, easy storage, no dilution,” said Dr. Meenakshi.
The company plans to apply for Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA in early February and says it’s ready to ship out vaccinations right after approval.
Johnson & Johnson’s goal is to manufacture 100 million doses for the U.S. by the end of June.
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