Viewers called our Vaccine Authority hotline to ask about the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine ahead of its expected FDA emergency approval.

NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There's promising news as a third COVID-19 vaccine may be in the mix as soon as this weekend with Johnson and Johnson on the verge of getting FDA approval.

Viewers called our Vaccine Authority hotline to ask about the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine ahead of its expected FDA emergency approval, and we took those questions to an expert for answers.

“Why is it that Johnson and Johnson is only doing one vaccine?” Western Mass News Vaccine Authority hotline caller asked.

Maria from Springfield asked a common question about what made the Johnson and Johnson vaccine different from the others.

Dr. Estevan Garcia, Chief Medical Officer at Cooley Dickinson Health Care gave answers.

“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It’s a DNA vaccine as opposed to the RNA vaccine that the first two are, the Moderna and Pfizer. What it means we’ll be able to operationalize it a bit easier or maybe a lot easier. It can be stored in a way that requires regular freezing and refrigeration so the transportation is a bit easier,” Garcia said.

Another hotline caller wanted to know why we should trust Johnson and Johnson.

“You know the FDA is using the same rigorous guidelines that they used for Moderna and Pfizer. I know there is some history about J&J in the news, but this is a vaccine-producing arm of the company that follows the same very safe and effective type of planning for vaccination,” Garcia said.

Another caller wanted to know how effective it is in comparison to Moderna and Pfizer.

Garcia said the efficacy rate is a little lower, but he pointed out, “The testing for J&J is being tested with these different variants versus where we were at the beginning with Moderna and Pfizer. So that may be why the efficacy is a little less effective against the virus but only for mild and moderate symptoms but when it comes to hospitalization and death, it's 100 percent effective."

As for which vaccine is better, “any vaccine you can get is the vaccine you want,” Garcia said.

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