Johnson & Johnson again calls on Tucson for COVID vaccine trial

johnson & johnson vaccine medical
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 07:27:01-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Johnson & Johnson said Friday that its COVID-19 vaccine is effective at stopping the virus, but less effective against variants.

The drug maker is about to apply for emergency usage, with Tucson again playing a significant role.

Based on Quality of Life Medical & Research Center's reputation with the Moderna vaccine trial, Johnson & Johnson asked them to help sign up minority participants.

That was back in early December.

Now, the data is in on that trial. It shows the single-shot vaccine was 72% effective at protecting against moderate to severe illness in the U.S.

It was just 66% effective in Latin America and 57% effective in South Africa, where concerning variants have taken root.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already being administered, are around 95% effective. But they require two shots, weeks apart.

Johnson & Johnson's is just one shot.

Johnson & Johnson is about to begin a new trial testing a two-shot version of its COVID vaccine.

"The one that we did initially was a single shot," said Dr. Jack McGettigan, owner of Quality of Life Medical & Research Center in Tucson. "I think they're looking at whether two is going to be better than one."

Johnson & Johnson is again calling on McGettigan's clinic to enroll volunteers.

Those interested can email to volunteer.

For those who will not be eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for several more months, it is an opportunity to receive it now.

"If somebody really wants the vaccine, when you come into the study you've got a 50-50 chance of getting it," said McGettigan.

Once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, those who received the placebo will likely be offered the actual vaccine.

Moderna said this week that its COVID-19 vaccine is effective in combating the mutant U.K. and South African strains, but is considering the possibility of adding a third shot to its two-shot vaccine process.