Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine could be a game changer for Arizona

On Feb. 26, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert panel endorsed a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson and Johnson, and the vaccine could be approved and ready to be administered by next week.

FDA scientists confirmed that overall, Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and about 85% effective against the most serious illness. The agency also said the shot is safe.

While it is unknown when Johnson and Johnson's vaccine will be approved, Dr. Cara Christ with the Arizona Department of Health Service says the vaccine's approval will be a game changer for Arizona.

"We just don’t know when we’re going to get that allocation loaded once it’s approved, so it could be we get it sometime this coming week or very, very early the next week," said Dr. Christ.

Dr. Christ says an overall distribution plan is still in the works.

"It’s one dose, it doesn’t have the stringent storage requirements. This could be a great thing for doing mobile vaccination, especially out in rural communities. You only have to go once and they are considered a completed dose. So they don’t have to go back for that second dose," said Dr. Christ.

In Arizona, there are some sites only offer one type of vaccine, and Dr. Christ says if a site is only offering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and a person does not want that vaccine, they can cancel the appointment and go to site with type of vaccine they want.