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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Oregon, Washington

Following the authorization of the vaccine by a workgroup, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now approved for use.
Credit: AP
This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The nation is poised to get a third vaccine against COVID-19, but health officials are concerned that at first glance the Johnson & Johnson shot may not be seen as equal to other options from Pfizer and Moderna. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Oregon and Washington, following the authorization by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

The authorization follows an initial authorization by the FDA and CDC.

"After thorough scientific review by doctors and health experts, we now have three safe and effective vaccines available for Oregonians,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. “And, because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be stored in standard refrigerators and vaccinate individuals in a single dose, it gives us the ability to vaccinate even more people. We will work to distribute vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible as we move forward to vaccinate seniors, people with underlying health conditions, frontline workers, and all Oregonians."

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) earlier this week announced that it expects roughly 34,000 doses of the new vaccine to arrive in the state this week.

The new Johnson & Johnson vaccine differs from the Pfizer and Moderna ones by only needing one dose instead of two, not as complex refrigeration and different technology.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to be 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, according to data from clinical trials, compared to about 95 percent for Moderna and Pfizer. Current data from vaccines available so far – Johnson & Johnson included – indicate all are virtually 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Doctors say eligible people should not be picky about which vaccine they receive due to limited amounts at this time.

RELATED: J&J's single-shot COVID vaccine gets FDA emergency use authorization

“The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup gives us further confidence around the safety and efficacy of Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “With the delivery of the J & J vaccine this week, and overall increase in the number of vaccine doses coming to Washington, we have increased our capacity to get vaccine to all parts of the state. We are making good progress on vaccination rates, and this third vaccine will help our efforts to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

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