DeSantis: Florida should see Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet decided if Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine will receive emergency-use authorization, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that we can expect it in Florida next week if all goes well.

DeSantis spoke at a Brooksville community on Wednesday morning.

During the news conference, he spoke about incoming vaccine doses. He brought up the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. U.S. regulators on Wednesday said that the single-dose vaccine does protect against COVID-19, being 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe infections.

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"What I would tell people on that is just understand, the way it gets portrayed sometimes, I don't think it's fair and I don't think it's accurate. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective at preventing death and virtually 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization due to COVID-19. That is a huge, huge win," the Governor said.

Regarding the vaccine's 66 percent efficacy, he added "just understand most of those infections were mild cases. And even the ones that were a little more serious didn't warrant admission into a hospital."

Governor DeSantis said the vaccine will be approved this week and will be shipped this weekend or next week. 

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"I don't know how much we're going to get now," he said regarding the number of doses Florida will receive. "We're working on how exactly we're going to use it. I'm mindful of that if we set up a site, or we add it to a site, and people come -- some people are fixated on Moderna or on Pfizer. And we want people to make those choices."

He added that "I hope those choices understand there's a lot to recommend on Johnson and Johnson. It's one dose. You take it once and you're done. And the clinical trials were very, very effective in terms of preventing hospitalization and mortality."

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two.

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However, Wednesday's update is just one step in the FDA’s evaluation of a third vaccine option for the U.S. On Friday, the agency’s independent advisers will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend the long-anticipated shot. Armed with that advice, FDA is expected to make a final decision within days.


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