Kemp says state ready to distribute 83K Johnson & Johnson vaccines ‘first week’

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp says the state is ready to make doses of the newly-authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine available in Georgia.

The FDA approved the single-dose vaccine for emergency use on Saturday.

On Saturday night, Kemp said that the Georgia Department of Health expects they will have approximately 83,000 doses of the vaccine in seven days, though the specific timeline is not clear yet.

Kemp said the goal is to get those vaccines administered as quickly as possible.

“This single-dose, effective Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will significantly increase the state’s ability to safely and efficiently vaccinate more Georgians,” Kemp said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the United States, does not have to be kept frozen and doesn’t require a second shot. That makes it advantageous for rural areas and other hard-to-reach communities and at health facilities that may not have the ability to store the vaccine at colder temperatures.

Clinical trials from Johnson & Johnson showed the vaccine to be 85% effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19. The FDA reports that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and deaths.

The company aims to have 20 million doses shipped by the end of March and 100 million doses shipped by the end of June.

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]