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Minnesota Department of Health predicts FDA to approve Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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Johnson and Johnson vaccine

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Johnson & Johnson says it has four million COVID-19 vaccine doses standing by ready to ship if approved. An independent group of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers will be holding a meeting Friday. At this meeting, the group will make a recommendation about whether this COVID-19 vaccination should receive Emergency Use Authorization.

There's more after that.

"Then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that makes the formal federal recommendation for the vaccine, they are meeting Sunday and Monday of this week, so we expect they should have a formal recommendation for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is really exciting," Kris Ehresmann said.

Ehresmann is the Minnesota Department of Health's director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control.

After the ACIP meeting, typically the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director accepts the committee's recommendation. Shortly after that, the vaccine can start going into arms.

The Minnesota Department of Health says approval is likely.

"We are not sure exactly when vaccine could start arriving in Minnesota, but we expect it should be in the short term. The fact that this is highly effective and a single dose vaccine, is significant," Ehresmann said.

Healthcare professionals say the data behind the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is encouraging.

"It is very effective in preventing severity of disease, so preventing hospitalization and complications, which is very important," Mayo Clinic's Dr. Abinash Virk said.

According to data collected, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a 72% efficacy rate in the U.S. and a more than 68% rate in Brazil at protecting people from mild to critical disease.

The vaccine offered nearly 86% protection against severe forms of the disease in the US, nearly 82% in South Africa and nearly 88% in Brazil.

If approved, when and where will this vaccine be going in Minnesota?

"We don't know what the rollout is going to be, whether we are going to get the Johnson & Johnson as well [at Mayo Clinic,] or is that going to be given to pharmacies. We don't know exactly what the rollout is going to be," Dr. Virk said.

"Wonderful news, it's just more doses we can get into the waving arms of eager Minnesotans, so we will look forward to when that will be a part of our allocation," Ehresmann said.

More details should be released early next week.

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Kamie Roesler

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