LEXINGTON, Ky. — Rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine continues across the country, and Kentucky's played a major role in recruiting for the study.

What You Need To Know

  • Those hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus are those with underlying conditions

  • Reearchers haven't had a chance to study those people greatly

  • The vaccine has high efficacy against severe disease hospitalization and death

  • J&J plan to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines in the nation during the first half of 2021.


Since the start of the pandemic, experts have studied thousands of people to help develop the vaccine. One group is severely impacted by the virus and that’s those with comorbidities.

“They really haven't broken down, necessarily, advocacy for diabetics or efficacy for, you know, heart disease or efficacy for obesity, it's kind of a generalized efficacy, that they're putting out there,” said Dr. Antoinette Pragalos. She’s the principal investigator at Clinical Trial and Consulting Services (CTI) for the Johnson and Johnson Janssen Pharmaceutical vaccine.

The FDA granted an Emergency Use Authorization on Saturday. Dr. Pragalos said these are initial study findings and more details will be analyzed in the coming months.

Dr. Pragolas said there’s one important factor to consider for all three COVID-19 vaccines.

“You're seeing these numbers, the very very important number that a lot of people I think have not really focused on enough, is the very high efficacy against severe disease hospitalization and death,” Dr. Pragalos said.

According to J&J, the vaccine is 85% effective overall in preventing severe disease and demonstrated complete protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death after 28 days.

Overall, the study findings show the level of protection against moderate to severe COVID-19 infection is 72% in the nation with the intent to prevent severe disease from the start of the pandemic.


“What we were trying to do, of course, is try and prevent severe disease, especially in high-risk patients, the people with those comorbidities, we were trying to keep them out of the hospital for several reasons. you know, most importantly, because those patients with his comorbidities that ended up in the hospital did have a higher risk of death,” Dr. Pragalos said.

Ultimately, however, there’s the main message here.

“The key is, whichever one you're offered, get the vaccine, they're safe, they're effective,” Dr. Pragalos said.

Johnson & Johnson said they plan to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines in the nation during the first half of 2021.