US begins rollout of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

IVAN PEREIRA
·2 min read

Johnson & Johnson will ship the first batch of its coronavirus vaccine to states and pharmacies on Monday, just two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Emergency Use Authorization.

The pharmaceutical company said it planned to roll out 3.9 million doses to state and local governments based on the size of the local adult population as well as federal distribution sites and select pharmacies. Unlike the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer, which require two doses for full immunization, the J&J vaccines only need one dose, according to the FDA.

The J&J vaccine does not use the mRNA technology used in the other two approved vaccines, which teach cells to make a protein that prompts an immune response.

MORE: FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson vaccine, giving US 3rd option to fight COVID-19 virus

Instead, the J&J vaccine uses a viral vector method where a different virus is introduced as a bit of coronavirus’ genetic material into the cells. The body's immune system then learns to identify and overcome the coronavirus.

PHOTO: Vials of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen coronavirus disease vaccine candidate are seen in an undated photograph. (Johnson & Johnson via Reuters)
PHOTO: Vials of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen coronavirus disease vaccine candidate are seen in an undated photograph. (Johnson & Johnson via Reuters)

The J&J vaccine can be stored in normal refrigerators, while, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines need to be stored at below-freezing temperatures.

In its trials, the pharmaceutical company said its vaccine was 85% effective at preventing severe illness and 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths 28 days after individuals were vaccinated.

The vaccine was tested in countries known to have potentially more dangerous variants, including Brazil and South Africa. The data found the vaccine worked against all known variants at preventing severe disease.

The J&J doses will be administered based on the eligibility requirements of each state.

PHOTO: A Johnson & Johnson worker prepares a syringe during the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial of its Janssen coronavirus disease vaccine candidate in an undated photograph. (Johnson & Johnson via Reuters)
PHOTO: A Johnson & Johnson worker prepares a syringe during the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial of its Janssen coronavirus disease vaccine candidate in an undated photograph. (Johnson & Johnson via Reuters)

Officials at the White House told ABC News they project 20 million doses will be delivered by the end of the month, but it’s not clear when exactly those doses will arrive.

“We do not expect any additional deliveries next week, and we expect deliveries to be uneven during the weeks of March,” the official said. .As of Sunday, the U.S. has delivered nearly 96.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses and administered 75.2 million doses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 24.8 million Americans, roughly 7.5% of the U.S. population, have had two doses of the mRNA vaccines, according to the CDC.

MORE: Biden plans to purchase 200M more doses of Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

By the end of June, J&J is expected to have produced 100 million vaccine doses. Pfizer and Moderna are expected to deliver enough vaccines to immunize 300 million people by mid-summer, according to federal health leaders.

ABC News' Anne Flaherty and Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

US begins rollout of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine originally appeared on abcnews.go.com