Updated: February 24, 2021 10:37 PM
Created: February 24, 2021 08:07 PM
Minnesota health officials say Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine should available to Minnesotans in the "short term."
Health officials weren't able to say exactly when the vaccine could arrive in Minnesota. It still has to be authorized by the FDA, which is expected to come at the end of this week. A formal recommendation could then come early next week.
While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, the Johnson & Johnson shot only requires one.
It is also able to be stored in a normal refrigerator.
"The fact that this is a highly effective, and a single dose vaccine is significant. It also has less stringent storage and handling requirements, so that is positive as well," said Minnesota Department of Health Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann.
Health officials say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 72% effective at preventing moderate COVID-19, 85% effective at preventing severe disease, and 100% effective against COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.
While officials say it is positive news, they still encourage Minnesotans to continue to follow the CDC guidelines we have heard about since this pandemic began about a year ago now.
"Vaccinations are coming and continue to increase, and that is fantastic news, but we are not there yet. We don't have enough vaccines in arms to stop the next wave of cases," said Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff.
Officials say the vaccine will be available to anyone who wants it, but that it will be targeted for populations that aren't as likely to receive a second dose.
That could include people who are disabled, homeless, or those with less access to transportation.
Officials say there have been some deaths in elderly people after being vaccinated, but they add at this time there is no evidence to suggest that any of those deaths were vaccine related.