Authorization of Johnson & Johnson shot brings hope to those still struggling to get vaccination appointment

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly 4 million doses of the newest coronavirus vaccine will begin to be delivered to states on Tuesday after being shipped out Sunday night.

Unlike Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine requires just one dose. Its authorization comes at a time when qualifying families are still struggling to get appointments.

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"You go to bed thinking about it and you wake up thinking about it," says Doreen Hernandez of Martinez.

Hernandez is high-risk, and her husband Billy is a grocery store worker. Despite Pfizer and Moderna vaccine products already in use, her husband has been unable to schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

For them, it's troubling, seeing that they've had three family members in southern California die due to coronavirus complications.

"You call the phone number, you stay on hold forever, then someone finally picks up and says sorry there's no appointments available," says Hernandez.

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With dangerous new variants of COVID-19 appearing worldwide including California, manufacturers are racing to keep their vaccines a step ahead of the virus.

The new Johnson and Johnson vaccine is 66% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 85% effective in preventing severe and critical illness.

Dr. Dean Winslow of Stanford says getting this vaccine out there with the others is huge.

"What they're doing is basically increasing the supply of the vaccine by at least 30-50%, so I think it really bodes well for getting this pandemic under control," says Dr. Winslow.

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Governor Gavin Newsom says 380,000 Johnson and Johnson doses will be arriving in California this week. Those that we talked with are just hopeful that this makes a bigger impact going forward.

"My mom is 81 and I still can't get her in to get a vaccine," says Kimberly Kowatch of Dublin.

Kowatch hasn't been able to get her mom Virginia a vaccination appointment with her provider. Kimberly was able to get one for herself, since she's a preschool teacher. A bit confusing, yes, but she is hopeful that more supply will make for more appointments and allow her mom and others to finally get a vaccination.

It's something that Doreen Hernandez is hopeful for as well.

"It will really make vaccine availability much better and that's really the bottom line right now," says Dr. Winslow.

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