Johnson & Johnson's vaccine could be approved soon bringing more doses to Idaho

Posted at 4:08 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 10:27:06-05

States across the U.S could see more doses if a third vaccine becomes available.

Johnson & Johnson submitted an application to be approved for emergency use authorization of the Janssen vaccine which could see approval as soon as early March.

Now, Johnson & Johnson does not have as many doses readily available upon potential approval as the company hoped, but President Joe Biden's administration says they will work with Johnson & Johnson to help ramp up inventory as quickly as they can.

This would allow more Idahoans to get vaccinated within the coming weeks if approved.

“Upon approval, even though there have been conversations about 1 million doses distributed by June we anticipate that speed to ramp up after the first few weeks and they do anticipate there be approximately 4 million doses upon approval,” Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Administrator of Public Health Elke Shaw-Tulloch said during a media briefing Tuesday.

The Janssen vaccine is different than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines not only because of the way it works to protect the body, but also the dose amount and how it's stored.

“The way the vaccine will come to us is in a 5-dose vile and there are 10 vials per carton and 48 cartons in a shipping container,” Shaw-Tulloch said.

“It's exciting because it's more stable than the messenger RNA vaccines that are available today. It also is able to confer protection against severe infections. It has about 85% protection against that severe infection with just one dose,” Regence Executive Medical Director Amy Khan said.

So, unlike the other two available vaccines, the Janssen vaccine only requires a single dose.

Setting it apart from the others, the Janssen dose doesn’t need to be stored in as cold of temperatures. It can keep at normal refrigerator temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three months.

“That lends itself to being more conducive to getting to a wider range of citizenry. It can reach people who may be in rural locations or locations in which the cold chain requirement of the other vaccines cannot be met,” Khan said.

The FDA will meet on February 26 to recommend whether or not the Janssen vaccine should be authorized for emergency use in the U.S. While vaccine supply is still limited health officials advise following the same guidelines of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing.