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Third approved COVID-19 vaccine has health experts hopeful

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 9:00 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Health experts say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game changer in the fight against COVID-19.

The vaccine only requires one shot and does not have to be stored at subzero temperatures.

“When benchmarking a vaccine and its numbers, it’s important to understand what it was compared against and this one compares against placebo to be really effective,” says Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai. “It will help save lives.”

Dr. Rai says the newest vaccine is another tool to help bring an end to the pandemic.

“It’s a great gift, to be honest with you, to the battle against COVID-19 and to getting everybody vaccinated.”

The vaccine was approved for use during the weekend and is shipping out to states across the country.

Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the state will be getting 47,000 doses of the single dose vaccine.

“If you think about 47,000 doses arriving in a week, well we were at one point living off of 70,000 a week,” Rai says. “To suddenly up that by another 47,000, close to a 40% or higher increase. That means more people will have access to vaccines.”

Rai says when it comes to the effectiveness of each of the vaccines, it is kind of like comparing apples to oranges.

Each vaccine was tested on a different population making it nearly impossible to call one of them less effective than the other.

“The really good things we heard from J&J is it is very effective, and extremely effective when it comes to preventing deaths and hospitalizations which was really our primary inpoint to getting to the end of the pandemic.”

Overall, Rai says all three vaccines are very effective and it doesn’t matter which vaccine you end up getting.

“What we would say to everybody is get what you can and get what’s available at that time. We can get to the end of this pandemic the more people we have vaccinated. This is not a lesser vaccine by any standard.”

With this third vaccine available, Dr. Rai and other health experts say they’re optimistic about the trajectory of the pandemic.

When it comes to when kids will be able to get the vaccine, Rai says clinical trials are happening right now to test how the vaccines affect them.

He expects those results to be out in late spring or early summer, which he says will give us a better idea of when we might get to the end of this pandemic

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