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1-shot COVID-19 vaccine will be easy to roll out, Arizona health expert says

(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

PHOENIX – The pending Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will be far easier to roll out than previous versions, according to Arizona public health expert Dr. Will Humble, and not just because it’s a one-and-done shot.

“The other big benefit is that the storage and handling for this vaccine is a snap. It’s really easy,” Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.

“So it’s a perfect vaccine for doctor’s offices, community health centers, pharmacies.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulators said Wednesday the J&J jab offers strong protection against severe COVID-19 and is safe for use.

On Friday, the agency’s independent advisers will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend the long-anticipated shot. Armed with that advice, FDA is expected to make a final decision within days.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said during a press conference on Wednesday that she expects the new vaccine to arrive in Arizona as soon as next week.

While the overall effectiveness data may suggest the J&J candidate isn’t quite as strong as the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose options, all of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines have been tested differently, making comparisons nearly impossible.

Humble said the differences are insignificant, so you should get whatever version becomes available to you first.

“So if you were to delay and say, ‘Well, you know, I just rather have the Pfizer,’ you might get infected … between the opportunity to get the Johnson & Johnson and when you could have the Pfizer,” he said.

If the FDA clears the J&J shot for U.S. use, it won’t boost vaccine supplies significantly right away. Only a few million doses are expected to be ready for shipping in the first week. But J&J told Congress this week that it expected to provide 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million by summer.

For information about statewide vaccine availability, the ADHS website has a vaccine-finder page with a map of locations and information about registration.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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