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Dr. Clay Marsh on Feb. 24.

Dr. Clay Marsh weighs in on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

CHARLESTON — After the U.S. FDA released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this morning that supports its authorization for emergency use, and with a panel set to meet Friday to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation about whether it should be given authorization, Gov. Justice on Wednesday announced that West Virginia is ready for this vaccine when it becomes available.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot, unlike the two-shot dosing for the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and it does not require special refrigeration for shipment and storage.

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh also provided his insight on the potential authorization of this new vaccine.

“This vaccine looks like it is very safe, and it looks like it’s very, very effective – particularly at reducing severe complications, which include people being hospitalized, people going to the ICU, people going on a ventilator, and also deaths,” Dr. Marsh said. “There have been no severe complications after the 28-day window and beyond, or any deaths, in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine groups, which span people of many ages and also cover people from many countries. So that’s good news.

“Given the benefit of saving lives and reducing complications, we hope that the wisdom of the FDA and the CDC will allow us to add this to our current strategy, focusing, as the Governor says, on the elderly part of our population – the vulnerable part of our population,” Dr. Marsh continued. “We believe this strategy is working but, as the Governor also says, it’s not time to become complacent.”

All West Virginians over the age of 16 are encouraged to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations at vaccinate.wv.gov. West Virginians who need assistance with registration for any reason should call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line for help at 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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