Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is approved
And suddenly, there were three! On Saturday, February 27, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S. Not only that, but the vaccine is expected to start being administered as early as this coming week.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S. and it does not need to be kept in special storage, unlike both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which need two shots to be effective and are stored at extra cold temperatures.
CNN reports that in the U.S., the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is considered 72% effective against all symptomatic COVID cases and offered 86% protection against severe forms of the disease. Most importantly, this shot was found to be effective against all known variants of the virus that are currently circulating. Many people are comparing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the 94% effectiveness in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, though both of those vaccines were trialed last year before the spread of all the new variants. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial was conducted recently when there were far more contagious variants in the U.S. leading many to wonder what percentage of efficacy Moderna and Pfizer would report if they held trials now.
The most important takeaway from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials is that it keeps people out of the hospital or from dying. Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, said that during Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial, there were no individuals who had a severe enough case of Covid-19 that they ended up in the hospital or on a ventilator or died.
“One dose will keep you out of the hospital, keep you out of the intensive care unit, and keep you out of the morgue,” Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine adviser to the FDA, also told CNN.
Preliminary data also shows that this vaccine may help prevent asymptomatic infections. If that’s true, it could be major in helping slow the spread of the virus, in addition to protecting people from getting sick and dying.
USA Today reported on Saturday that four million doses of the vaccine should be made available “next week,” with several state governors confirming the news as well, and by “next week” it’s expected to mean the week of March 1, 2021. 20 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines total will be delivered to states by the end of March and another 80 million will be delivered between April and end of June.
It’s important to note that this vaccine only requires a single dose per person unlike the current vaccines available. So when Moderna says it’s shipping out 20 million doses, that’s actually only enough for 10 million people to get fully vaccinated. But when Johnson & Johnson ships out 20 million doses, that’s 20 million people reaching full vaccination status. One and done.
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