As Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital celebrated the opening of its COVID-19 vaccination clinic to the Santa Clarita Valley’s educators Monday, Johnson & Johnson announced it started shipping nearly 4 million doses of its newly authorized vaccine across the country.
Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the vaccine over the weekend, granting an emergency-use authorization for the vaccine, making it the third vaccine available in the U.S.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is the first single-dose, as well as the only one authorized in the U.S. that does not require ultra-cold storage.
The company also announced Monday it’s committed to delivering 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses by June, with the first 3.9 million doses set to be distributed to states, tribes, territories, pharmacies and community health centers starting this week.
This vaccine’s efficacy ratings is less than Pfizer and Moderna’s higher figures of 95% and 94%, Johnson & Johnson’s has shown 72% effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 and 86% effectiveness at preventing severe illness and death from the virus, according to data submitted to the FDA.
In Los Angeles County, more than 2.2 million residents have been vaccinated, with county officials calling the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine a “game-changer,” allowing more residents to be vaccinated, especially those in rural communities and those most vulnerable, such as homeless people, who may have a hard time getting a second dose.
While Henry Mayo does not expect to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, due to its limited quantity and the hospital’s ability to handle the vaccines with more complex needs, such as the ultra-cold storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Bud Lawrence, medical director of Henry Mayo’s Emergency Department, said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a specific place.
“It’s probably best used for high-risk populations,” he said, adding that mobile vaccination sites can use this vaccine to travel to those communities. “There’s many areas where this vaccine can be especially useful because it’s one dose.”
L.A. County should begin to see doses of this vaccine arrive locally as early as this week, according to county Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“All three of the vaccines are extraordinarily powerful, and in clinical trials, they were all 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” Ferrer said. “Please know when you come to a site, it will be very important to just accept the vaccine that’s being provided, as all of the vaccines that we have and that we’re able to offer have protected people from serious illness that requires hospitalization and from death.”
For more information on L.A. County’s vaccination efforts, visit VaccinateLACounty.com.