CHICAGO — Doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine could arrive in Chicago as soon as Monday.
The vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend. Once doses of it arrive in the city, the Department of Public Health will be able to distribute it to health care providers, who can then administer the vaccine.
The doses are expected to significantly boost Chicago’s vaccine campaign, as Johnson & Johnson only requires one shot to be effective and it does not require ultra-cold storage.
“We anticipate that it will be here if not today, tomorrow,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference Monday morning. “I don’t have a firm lock on what the amount of doses is, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“… Obviously, we will put it to work as soon as we get it. [The health department] has been preparing now for some time as we saw the Johnson & Johnson vaccine kind of moving through the regulatory approval process, and it gives us another tool to use to get people vaccinated. So we’re excited for that opportunity.”
Last week, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said city officials are “feeling optimistic” about the vaccine and the data around it is “very promising.”
Arwady said it could be some time before the vaccine is mass produced enough to shore up Chicago’s vaccination numbers, though.
Studies have shown the Johnson & Johnson vaccine protects people from death and severe illness from COVID-19 just as much as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already used in the United States, though it’s not as effective at preventing milder cases. Data also shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers that protection to severe illness sooner than other vaccines.
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