Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What You Need to Know About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

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Image credit: Daniel Schludi/Unsplash

A Henry Ford Health System physician explains the newest approved coronavirus vaccine and clears up misconceptions.

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A third COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in that it requires just a single dose. Johnson & Johnson say they have about 4 million doses they are able to distribute immediately, and Michigan is set to receive more than 80,000 of those vaccines.

We’ve tried to get these vaccine doses to our community members. It is a herculean effort. Up until now we’ve only had the two-shot series.” — Dr. Usamah Mossallam, Henry Ford Health System

It’s a huge help in getting more Michiganders vaccinated against the coronavirus and will get us one big step closer to achieving the goal of herd immunity. But there are many questions, misconceptions and conspiracy theories floating around about this and other vaccines that create challenges for public health officials who hope to get more people immunized.

Listen: A Henry Ford Health System doctor explains how testing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was reflective of the community.


Dr. Usamah Mossallam is an emergency medicine physician and vice president and medical director of International Initiatives at Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Mossallam has also been leading Henry Ford’s vaccine community outreach efforts in underserved communities. He says it is highly effective against the novel coronavirus, and especially against preventing hospitalizations and deaths. And he says it’s effective against newer strains of the virus.

What’s exciting about this vaccine is that it has been tested against the South African strain,” says Mossallam, noting that the vaccine has had 82% efficacy against the variant.

Mossallam says the single-dose vaccine could also be a huge help for people like him who are trying to get vaccines to people who are most difficult to reach.

We’ve tried to get these vaccine doses to our community members. It is a herculean effort. Up until now we’ve only had the two-shot series,” he says.

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