WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of drugmaker Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday.
- J&J’s drug is the first vaccine that only entails a single dose, with up to 85 percent efficacy against severe cases of the virus.
- Last week, the US has reached over 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. J&J’s vaccine becomes the third vaccine type available in the US and the first single-dose vaccine.
The FDA approved the vaccine to be used for Americans aged 18 and above the day after agency experts voted to give a go signal to the drug company for the use of its vaccine.
Last Wednesday, the agency, through internal analysis, discovered the drug was effective and safe. Based on a study, the vaccine’s efficacy rate on symptomatic cases was 66 percent while 85 percent for severe cases of COVID-19. After almost a month after the vaccination, there were no reported hospitalizations or fatalities.
Unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, it was also noteworthy that J&J’s vaccine development was undergoing when more contagious COVID-19 strains have already spread across the globe. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines were proved to be 95 percent effective against the virus upon the completion of the two doses.
“It’s important for people to not think that one vaccine is better than another,” Tufts Medical Center director of pediatric infectious disease expert panelist Dr. Cody Meissner said Friday. “Hopefully [the CDC] will emphasize that there is no preference for one vaccine over another. All vaccines work with what appears to be equal efficacy and equal safety.”
Having the same disposition, University of Michigan School of Public Health epidemiology professor Dr. Arnold Monto said: “In this environment, whatever you can get, get.”
Unlike Moderna’s vaccine which needs to be stored at highly-freezing temperatures, J&J’s vaccine can be refrigerated at a normal cold temperature. Meanwhile, Pfizer has recently noted that its vaccine can now be kept in standard freezers as they work to update their guidelines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 47 million Americans have already received their initial COVID-19 vaccine dose. The CDC has expanded the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people aged 65 and above, and to other pertinent front-liners like teachers, public transportation workers, and food industry workers.
As the nation reached the 500,000 COVID-19 death toll, daily new infections and deaths have been steadily decreasing since January.