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Houston-area hospitals, pharmacies waiting for first delivery of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine

Johnson & Johnson says it is ready to deliver 20 million doses of its single-dose vaccine across US

HOUSTON — With emergency use authorization granted by the FDA over the weekend, Johnson & Johnson says it is ready to deliver 20 million doses of its single-dose vaccine to the U.S. by the end of March.

“Early indications are that over 200,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses will be allocated to Texas by the federal government. We do not yet know when those doses will be available to ship. DSHS will release information on the number of doses, where they will be allocated to, and when they will ship to providers when we have it. We anticipate having more details about how the J&J vaccine fits into our vaccine allocation process in the next few days,” a spokesperson with the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

RELATED: Texas expects to receive more than 200,000 initial doses of newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Memorial Hermann Hospital is waiting for specifics about its delivery, just like the rest of the country. Dr. Linda Yancey said the vaccine is a game-changer because it only involves one dose and it doesn’t require special deep freezers like the other vaccines.

“The fact that we now have a vaccine that can be stored in a refrigerator means we could theoretically ship this to every pharmacy in the country. They could administer it there. I think this will give us a lot more flexibility in getting this vaccine out to rural areas,” Yancey said.

A panel of FDA experts deemed the one-dose vaccine safe and effective. Johnson & Johnson’s U.S clinical trial found the single-dose vaccine is 72% effective in preventing COVID-19. It’s 85% effective in preventing severe illness.

“It’s effective against the UK variant. Importantly, it’s also effective against the South African variant,” Yancey said.

People who get the J&J vaccine may experience pain at the injection site or fever. Yancey wants to remind people that full protection isn’t achieved until three or four weeks after receiving the vaccine.