GREENSBORO, N.C. — Johnson & Johnson has started shipping out nearly 4 million doses of its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine. North Carolina is expected to get some of the vaccine allocations on Wednesday.
The federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson's (Janssen) one-shot vaccine and 83,700 doses are expected to arrive in the state this week, beginning on Wednesday.
"A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread," North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is in addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently in use. Despite an 85% efficacy rate, the vaccine protects against virus-related hospitalization and death, according to the CDC. There are possible side effects such as a sore arm, fever, headache, or feeling tired and achy for a day or two. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized were built upon decades of previous work on similar vaccines.
"The more vaccines out, the better because that means that everyone who has a hunting license right now might actually get an appointment sooner and faster and get vaccinated," Dr. Ohl with Wake Forest Baptist Health said.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is also being called a game-changer because it is a single-dose shot and does not require extreme cold storage. As a result, it can be more easily shipped, stored, and administered -- factors that will help to increase the number of vaccination sites and make them more accessible.
This increased supply will help to ensure equitable distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines in every community in the state.