Tri-State nurse previews possible rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

TriHealth nurse researcher excited for possible J&J vaccine approval

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A third vaccine is close to getting the green light in the fight against COVID-19.

An FDA advisory panel signaled approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday. If granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA, the vaccine would offer a single-dose option that is highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and fatal outcomes due to COVID-19.

TriHealth nurse researcher Rachel Baker followed the advisory panel’s meeting all day.

“For those of us who are interested in science and epidemiology, it’s like the who’s who of vaccines,” Baker said. “It’s so fun to watch, because they’re brilliant people asking brilliant questions.”

The advisory committee and the CDC have a meeting scheduled Sunday to set guidelines for the vaccine. Baker says that gives a big clue the vaccine will likely get its authorization.

“They’re the committee that looks at how the vaccine is going to work,” Baker said. “Like how it will be rolled out. So they give recommendations about who should get it. They put together how you use the vaccine information.”

Baker anticipates the FDA could sign off on the vaccine as early as next week.

She says the J&J vaccine is more practical fore widespread use than the two mRNA vaccines currently approved.

“It’s great for our more transient populations,” she said. “Homeless populations, populations that might be hard to get that one month follow-up. We thought that it has good efficacy after the one dose.”

In clinical studies, the vaccine was 66 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe illness. No one in the study who received the vaccine died from COVID-19, while seven people in the study’s control group who received the placebo died from COVID-19

“While I get that people are like, ‘I don’t want a 66 percent, I want a 95,’ these are all close to 100 percent effective of you being hospitalized and dying from covid,” she explained.

Baker says the best thing to bypass the myths, look at the science and get vaccinated.

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