SAN DIEGO – The new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA and is expected to arrive in San Diego County as early as this week.
Johnson & Johnson said the company plans to distribute 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. by the first half of 2021. It will be the first single-dose vaccine available in the U.S.
On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet that California is expected to receive about 380,000 doses soon. San Diego County has yet to announce exactly when the vaccines will arrive and where the vaccine will be distributed.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis helped pave the way for the new vaccine to be greenlit. She worked with UC San Diego to open a trial center in National City, even participating herself.
“Being able to pave the way, yes, but I think also dispelling myths on what a vaccine is and what a vaccine isn’t,” she said. “You know you don’t grow any external eyeballs or tails. I’m alive; I’m healthy; I’m happy.”
Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital, said the vaccine is “at least 70% effective” at preventing the infection from ever happening, which he notes is great in terms of reducing transmission.
Sawyer, one of 11 health experts Newsom hand-picked to review the safety of approved vaccines, said he currently considers the Johnson & Johnson vaccine equal to ones by Moderna and Pfizer.
In the coming months, more data on how vaccines react to variants is likely to come out.
But so as for Johnson and Johnson, so far: “The company did present a small amount of data which suggested that this vaccine works pretty well, almost as well against the variant strain as it does against the previous strain, but it was a small amount of data,” Sawyer said.
He added, “I’m not sure we should hang our hat on that, but it’s at least something to go by.”