LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An additional option may soon become a reality for those waiting to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The University of Kentucky (UK), in partnership with Baptist Health Lexington and Norton Healthcare in Louisville, participated in a phase three clinical trial to evaluate about 900 people for a new vaccine offered by Johnson & Johnson. So far, the results are promising.
The vaccine was 72% effective in the US and 66 % effective in global studies at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19, 28 days after vaccination.
It also offered significantly better protection in the US compared to South Africa, Where a highly contagious variant is causing a surge in cases.
Doctors like David Greenberg from UK, who worked on the trial, are optimistic and hopeful the vaccine succeeds.
“We became so-called family members. We were pretty close with all 890 individuals at one time or another," Greenburg said. "If they were sick, we found about it through an app we were using during the study, and they had access to it, so we could assist them through any illness that they got; whether it was Covid-19 or some other viral infection. So this was a very big production, not only with injections, but also with follow up."
Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which must be administered in two doses, the Johnson & Johnson drug requires only a single dose. Another major advantage of this new vaccine is the ease of storage. Special freezers are not necessary to preserve the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"One of the biggest problems is the distribution of the vaccine and getting a single dose out to really the world not just this country that can stored at refrigerator temperature for at least three months is huge and the major focus should be getting as many people vaccinated as possible," Dr. David Doughtery from Baptist Health Lexington said.
If availability becomes an issue, doctors are just as confident in this vaccine as the one introduced by Pfizer or Moderna.
"I would definitely recommend people get it vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson product and certainly not wait for another product in lieu of that," Dr. Paul Schulz with Norton Healthcare said.
Johnson & Johnson has plans for filing for emergency use authorization in the US within the next few weeks.