Experts: One-dose COVID vaccine could dramatically ramp up effort to get shots in arms

Updated: Jan. 30, 2021 at 11:45 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. could soon have another weapon in its arsenal to fight COVID-19 ― and it will come in the form of a single shot.

On Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine was 66% effective in clinical trials in preventing moderate to severe symptoms from the virus.

While there is a chance you can still catch the virus after being immunized, Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the shot seems to have a major upside.

“Johnson & Johnson does appear to do something important, which is prevent 100% of hospitalizations and deaths,” Green said.

Dr. David Agus, CEO of the Ellison Institute for Transformational Medicine, explained it like this: “You can get a mild cold. But won’t be that sick.”

Agus says the one-dose vaccine is a game-changer, especially for people in rural areas.

“It’s much easier to schedule. Much easier to store. Much easier supply chain,” he said.

“It can be done in remote parts of Hawaii. Just go in vaccinate people and leave. Where that was very hard to do with the Pfizer and Moderna.”

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered with two doses and must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

Green said right now Hawaii has the ability to vaccinate 75,000 people a week, but is only doing half that because there’s a shortage of shots. Once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, Green says he sees it being distributed on a much wider scale than the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

“Because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be refrigerated at regular temperatures it can be in regular pharmacies and it can be in all the pharmacies across the state,” he said.

As for side effects, doctors say it’s similar to what you would experience with a flu shot.

“So everybody says which vaccine do you want,” said Agus. “The bottom line is whatever vaccine you can get the soonest.”

In the meantime, Green says Hawaii is expecting to receive just over 40,000 vaccine doses next week from Pfizer and Moderna.

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