Mercy Health doctor hopeful after third vaccine approval

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 16:12:16-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan health official describes the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine as hopeful.

On Saturday, the U.S. Food and Drug administration cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.

READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets FDA green light, 4 million doses expected to be shipped this week

“I’m excited,” said Dr. Matt Biersack, chief medical officer at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “I think this is going to offer us another tool to help vaccinate people against COVID-19. What we’ve seen from the data so far is… the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19, so I think it’s going to be a great tool for us.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan is slated to receive 82,700 doses of the J&J vaccine this coming week.

Biersack says while it appears to be less effective than other available vaccines, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison since the J&J study monitored different outcomes. He believes J&J will expand access to vaccines since it requires no special cold storage, and only one dose is needed. He believe those characteristics make it ideal for rural communities or in cases where there is no established relationship with a healthcare provider, like a drive-thru vaccination site.

“We’ll be able to embed in different sites all throughout the community, the county and, you know, just the ability for people to access the vaccine with just a single appointment will be substantially easier for people,” said Biersack.

Grand Rapids Aseptic Manufacturing is one of three facilities producing the vaccine for Johnson & Johnson.

GRAM did not respond to FOX 17’s request for comment.

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