WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The federal government approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this past weekend, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed it will soon be coming to Florida.
"We don't know for sure whether we will definitely get it this week, but we think we probably will. We don't know exactly how much, but tentatively the numbers that we're looking at for Johnson & Johnson shipment to Florida this week is 175,000 doses," DeSantis said Monday.
A spokesman for the Health Department in Palm Beach County said they have no confirmation yet on when the doses will arrive.
The one-shot vaccine, which requires less refrigeration, is also leading the governor to expand those eligible for getting vaccinated to law enforcement, firefighters and school personnel 50 and older.
A trial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine showed it to have an efficacy rate of about 72 percent, slightly lower than the rates for vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna.
"In all clinical trials, all the vaccines have prevented hospitalizations and death," said Dr. David Dodson, an infectious disease specialist in West Palm Beach.
Trials numbers have indicated the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may have slightly lower effectiveness than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but doctors say it's an unfair comparison.
"The Johnson & Johnson trials were run in South Africa and South America at this time when variants circulating. The two previous vaccine trials were done without the variants, so we don't really know whether they are actually the same," Dodson said.
Dodson said Johnson & Johnson, just like Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, is 100 percent effective at preventing serious illness.
The advice from experts is that no one should turn down any of the vaccines.
"Our best advice is to take whatever [vaccine] is available to you and get vaccinated," Dodson said.