Doctors, trial volunteers excited about Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Doctors, trial volunteers excited about Johnson & Johnson vaccine

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Friday is the day an FDA advisory committee will discuss giving Emergency Use Authorization to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Medical experts say they believe it’s a safe and effective third vaccine to put on the market.

For those who took part in the Johnson & Johnson trial, it means being part of something meaningful.

“They said by the end of the month, they were hoping it would get approved, and it sounds like that’s happening,” Lelia Sublett said.

Right on schedule for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes Sublett feel good, she said. The Louisville native, who’s part of the Phase 3 trial working with the University of Kentucky, Norton Healthcare and Baptist Health Lexington, found out several weeks ago that she got the vaccine, not the placebo. She’s had no symptoms.

“Having this third vaccine out and hopefully with it being just a one dosage, it will be able to get to more rural areas, and hopefully anyone that has had any hesitation, knowing one vaccine is all they need,” Sublett said. “Hopefully they will be on board.”

Associate Dean for Rural Health Innovation at the University of Louisville Dr. R. Brent Wright said he couldn’t agree more, adding that one shot will help folks who are a little nervous.

“To have that vaccine available, with the point of care when people are in their physician’s office and with their hospital organization, I think that’s going to be wonderful,” he said.

The doctor said more pluses for rural areas are the super cold storage needed for the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is not a factor for the J & J vaccine, and one shot is key because rural areas just don’t have the healthcare workers needed to operate the two-dose process.

“You know we can’t go out and hire people to run vaccine clinics,” Wright said. “We’re having to do this with existing resources.”

It’s among the reasons he said he’s hopeful and grateful for another vaccine option, and for people like Sublett, who helped make it possible.

“I applaud those individuals,” he said. “And it really shows how everyone can make a difference.”

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