Changes coming for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, doctors predict

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FILE – This Thursday, March 18, 2021 file photo shows syringes filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up site in the Queens borough of New York. According to results released on Monday, March 29, 2021, The U.S government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Health experts predict recommendations will soon change when it comes to two out of three of the COVID-19 vaccines that have Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.

They will impact the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Doctors and researchers from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. expect an oversight committee to recommend resuming the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when it meets Friday.

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said they expect other news about the vaccine to come soon too. It could mean a recommendation that millions of people receive a second shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine sooner than later.

“Pfizer looks about the same as the one shot data from J&J and the J&J is gonna end up recommending two shots after the summer,” Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer at the University Health System, said Thursday.

Stites also said that he expects to see hesitancy over the J&J vaccine, even after the FDA lifts its pause. While many people liked the option of a one-shot vaccine, Stites said he expects pharmacies, clinics and doctors offices to rely more on the Moderna vaccine in the future. The issue is the storage temperature. But, Stites said he expects that to be modified too.

“Moderna’s temperature requirements are going to begin to moderate a little bit and I think we’re going to find ways to get the Moderna vaccine into clinics as well. So I’m, I’m optimistic about that,” Stites said. “So my hope is that more data comes out to support it and that we begin to lower the cold storage requirements … which makes it easier to get into primary care and specialty care offices.”

Doctors and county health departments believe they need to get shots into doctors offices to reach millions of people who remain hesitant to get a vaccine. They believe that concerns can be eased when patients can have a conversation with their doctor.

“Patients will hear directly from the doctors. The most powerful advocate for vaccination is not, you know, it’s not LeBron James, it’s not Patrick Mahomes,” Stites said. “But the simple reality is that the number one advocate is a person’s primary care physician. We have to get those conversations really going between primary care and those who are hesitant.”

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