NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork)Johnson & Johnson says its breakthrough one-shot vaccine could stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic.

But it might not be enough, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.

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The New Jersey-based company is calling it’s vaccine a “one-shot wonder.”

“There’s no question that this vaccine’s going to be a game changer,” said Dr. Mathai Mammen of Johnson & Johnson.

Though not as effective as its two-shot rivals, which boast nearly 100% protection, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 in people of all ages and backgrounds 28 days after vaccination.

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“And what we mean by severe COVID is feeling particularly sick at home. That’s about 80% of the severe cases or, in some cases, being sick enough to go seek medical attention,” Dr. Mammen said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci praised the vaccine’s cost and “transportability.” It’s the first that doesn’t have to be frozen to survive.

“This is a single shot vaccine in which you start to see efficacy anywhere from seven to 10 days following the first and only shot,” Fauci said. “It is very, very good with regard to cold chain requirements, mainly requiring only a refrigerator. It is inexpensive and the company is capable of making doses in the numbers of billions.”

Watch Jessica Moore’s report —

But there are concerns about the shot’s effectiveness. The protection against infection dropped from 72% in the U.S. to just 57% in South Africa, where a new, highly contagious variant is fueling many new cases around the world.

“Does that concern you?” Moore asked CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.

“Sure. The South African variant, or mutation, seems to be more infectious. It’s not clear yet whether it causes more serious disease, or not. But anything that is more infectious that a vaccine doesn’t work against means that that variant will likely become dominant very quickly,” Gomez said.


Johnson & Johnson plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA and could receive clearance in February.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is among city and state leaders around the country counting on the company to ease the vaccine shortage.

The U.S. government has pre-ordered about 100 million doses, but Johnson & Johnson only expects to have roughly 7 million doses available for February, with the remaining doses available in the summer.


News about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as supply lags behind growing demand in New York.

“It was difficult to find a site in the area,” Rev. Addie Banks, of the Bronx, said.

Friday, Yankee Stadium was identified as the next COVID-19 mass vaccination site, specifically designated for Bronx residents. The infection rate there is higher than any other borough at 7.06%.

“I don’t want people from out of state coming to our area to use our facility,” one Bronx resident said.

That has been the case at other locations in hard-hit communities, prompting scrutiny and a push to prioritize local residents.

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Improved access in all communities is not the only barrier in the race to getting shots in people’s arms.

“People have to have access — poor communities, Black community, Latino community — and they have to accept it and get past the vaccine hesitancy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The National Guard will be deployed to help set up the Yankee Stadium site. There’s no word on when it will open.

CBS2’s Jessica Moore and Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report.

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CBSNewYork Team