Ky doctors involved in clinical trials says J&J vaccine would be a game changer


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Doctors leading the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trials say now is particularly important.

Friday, a panel within the FDA reviewed Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine and recommended it for emergency use. The FDA likely to follow that recommendation and a decision is expected as soon as Saturday.

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“A day in living history for all of us to remember.,” Dr. Richard Greenberg, UK’s principal investigator said.

The University of Kentucky Healthcare partnered with Baptist Health Lexington and Norton Healthcare in Louisville hosted the largest study group worldwide with 890 volunteers on Janssen’s Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine only requires one shot to be completely vaccinated, which could drastically speed up the rate of vaccinations nationwide.

“Having a vaccine like this in large numbers I think would be a game changer,” Dr. Greenberg said.

While the efficacy percentage is slightly lower than Moderna and Pfizer’s version about 72 to 95 percent, respectively, experts say any vaccine at this point is better than no vaccine.

“Numbers aren’t exactly the score. These all three vaccines have great efficacy,” Greenberg said.

Dr. David Dougherty with Baptist Health Lexington said getting back to a more normal world, requires a vaccine like Johnson and Johnson’s.

“It’s important to have a single dose vaccine, not just for the us to speed up vaccinations but for the world,” Dr. Dougherty said. “If we don’t vaccinate the world we’re gonna continue to have variants developed around the world and to seep into U.S. borders.”

It also doesn’t require below freezing storage, making it mobile and easier to access. But, Greenberg and Dougherty agree, it’s too soon to be picky about which version of the COVID-19 vaccine you get.

“It’s important to just get vaccinated. And at this point, it’s not really terribly productive to say one is one with the better than the other,” Greenberg said.


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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or