By Raetta Holdman

(CBS4) – Johnson & Johnson started shipping its COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning after it received emergency use authorization. CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida says it’s arrival changes the timeline for the fight against the coronavirus.

“Most public health experts are calling this one a game change,” he told CBSN Denver during his weekly question & answer session. “it’s a really good vaccine. It is oa one vaccine regiment, meaning you get one shot and within about three to four weeks, you have a full immune response.”

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(credit: UPS)

He also said because it is easy to ship and store. It can be kept in a refrigerator for up to three months which means there is little chance for wasted doses.

Hnida also addressed the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine calling it very effective. “I know a lot of people are looking at the numbers an d saying, ‘Well, you know maybe the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn’t meet the standards of other vaccines.’ Actually, it does.”

Hnida pointed out it was tested in a different population of people during the trials and that many of the people who received the vaccine may have had a mutated strain.

“When you look at Moderna, when you look at Pfizer, when you look at Johnson & Johnson, all there are 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.”

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As for choosing between the three, Hnida said, for him, it would be an easy decision. “I’ll you what the best vaccine is for anybody. It is the vaccine that is available for you right now.”

(credit: CBS)

He pointed out there is still not enough vaccine to immunize everyone who wants the shots.

“When you take a look at how we view the pandemic in general. We’ve been talking so long about how we have been in this long marathon. We need to be patient, we need to hold on.”

“My feeling right now, with these vaccines coming out, is that we are now entering a new phase. We are really in a home stretch-type of situation. It’s a marathon that is now really a sprint.”

“We are sprinting to get people vaccinated before we have to worry about mutated strains.”

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Hnida said that means give the choice of having the Johnson & Johnson vaccine right now or having to wait three or four weeks to start Pfizer or Moderna, he would take the J&J without question.

Raetta Holdman