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FDA meeting to discuss Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. What that could mean for metro Detroit

Posted at 5:24 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 05:24:25-05

(WXYZ) — There is more hope on the COVID-19 vaccine front as the FDA meets on Friday to discuss emergency use authorization for the Johnson and Johnson shot. If approved for emergency use, this would be the third vaccine available in the U.S. and the first single-dose vaccine.

Related: Full coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan

In Michigan, more than two million doses have been administered, and yesterday, President Joe Biden marked 50 million doses given nationwide since he's been in office.

The expectation is that a single-dose vaccine will ramp up shots at the TCF Center in Detroit and in areas around Michigan. If approved, it would be a big step forward in the area's fight against COVID-19.

TCF Center is acting as Detroit's mass vaccination hub, where seniors are the big focus right now. The city just expanded eligibility this week to include people in the suburbs 55 and older if they bring a Detroit companion who is at least 60.

The FDA advisory committee will vote on whether or not to recommend emergency-use of the shot, which FDA scientists report is 85% effective at preventing severe illness in clinical trials and 66% effective at preventing COVID-19 with any symptoms.

The head of infectious disease at Ascension St. John, Dr. Leonard Johnson, said for metro Detroiters hesitant of two doses, this could be a game-changer.

“As a single-dose vaccine it's going to help us a lot. It opens up the possibility of getting people who may be not in town for a long period of time," Johnson said. “Really where it's going to help us pick up are those people who really couldn't commit to a two-step cycle.”

There is also progress on the new variants as scientists continue to watch for new mutations of the virus. Both Pfizer and Moderna, which already have vaccines on the market, are modifying their shots to target the South African strain of the virus. Both are also testing a third booster shot for extra protection.

“Despite the fact that we've already had them in our community for probably at least a few weeks, we have not seen an uptick which is good news.," Johnson said

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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