Walz calls Johnson & Johnson vaccine approval a 'gamechanger,' shipments could come this week

Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccination effort just got a boost on Saturday as the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use.

Governor Walz's says shipments of the vaccine could start going out as soon as this coming week, and the approval of the third vaccine for COVID-19 will give the state another tool to ramp up doses. Setting the new vaccine apart from the other two that have approved, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

"Authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game-changer in our fight to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic," Walz said in a statement on Saturday. "This vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing severe illness and death. Because it requires only one dose, it will also help us quickly provide immunity to even more Minnesotans who have been waiting so long for protection against COVID-19."

Walz believes the new approval will help push Minnesota towards the "broad community protection" needed to "rein in" the COVID-19 pandemic and return to normal.

The governor says the state is waiting on CDC recommendations to determine allotment decisions.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine to get government approval for emergency use. The FDA has already given the go-ahead for Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines.