The United States is poised to get a third coronavirus vaccine — this one made by Johnson & Johnson.
Houston and the state of Texas could be getting a shipment of 200,000 doses as soon as this week.
Right now those in the 1A and 1B categories qualify for the vaccination in our area.
This all comes as the US Food and Drug Administration has given the vaccine emergency use authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended it, and the federal government is scheduled to start distribution almost immediately.
Two vaccines are already being distributed in the US — one made by Moderna and another made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The new vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine division, is a little different. Here’s how.
It’s one dose:
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is designed to be given as a single dose. That means no follow-up visits, none of the red tape needed to make sure people return for those second shots, and none of the worry about making sure a second dose is available at the right time.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both designed to be given in a two-dose series — the Pfizer vaccine three weeks apart and Moderna’s four weeks apart.
There’s been discussion about whether it might be OK to give these vaccines as a single dose, or to extend the time between doses so more people can get their first vaccine, and thus get at least some protection.
But the FDA authorization says two doses, and many vaccine experts, including White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, fear giving just one dose of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines might leave people only partly protected.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was tested and shown to protect people with a single dose, although studies are underway to see if two doses might provide more protection.