Wake County receives 5,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County has received its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s newly-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, county officials said 5,500 doses arrived.

How will the county distribute these new doses? Colleen Quigley breaks down Wake County’s strategy on CBS 17 News at 6 p.m.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine on Saturday leading to the entire stockpile being shipped immediately.

The White House said the J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, but the distribution would be backloaded.

Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.

The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death.

One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. The company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year.

The FDA said studies detected no serious side effects. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, the main side effects of the J&J shot are pain at the injection site and flu-like fever, fatigue and headache.

An FDA fact sheet for vaccine recipients says there is “a remote chance” that people may experience a severe allergic reaction to the shot, a rare risk seen with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Such reactions are treatable, and vaccine recipients are supposed to be briefly monitored after the injection.

The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in adults 18 and older for now. But like other manufacturers, J&J is about to study how it works in teens before moving to younger children later in the year, and also plans a study in pregnant women.

All COVID-19 vaccines train the body to recognize the new coronavirus, usually by spotting the spikey protein that coats it. But they’re made in very different ways.

J&J’s shot uses a cold virus like a Trojan horse to carry the spike gene into the body, where cells make harmless copies of the protein to prime the immune system in case the real virus comes along. It’s the same technology the company used in making an Ebola vaccine, and similar to COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and China’s CanSino Biologics.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made with a different technology, a piece of genetic code called messenger RNA that spurs cells to make those harmless spike copies.

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