More good news on the coronavirus front. A panel of FDA advisors voted unanimously on Friday to recommend the agency approve drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's one-dose coronavirus vaccine in the United States. Following the recommendation by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the FDA is expected to approve the vaccine for emergency use in the coming days.
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will be the third coronavirus vaccine to receive FDA approval, but the first vaccine requiring just one shot for vaccination. The drug showed a 66 percent effectiveness against moderate to severe COVID-19 infections and about an 85 percent effectiveness against the most serious illnesses. While two other FDA-approved vaccines have efficacy rates in the 90s, Johnson & Johnson's drug was shown to prevent 100 percent of hospitalizations in a clinical study of around 44,000 participants in the United States.
"This is a vaccine to prevent you from going to the hospital and dying at a level that’s certainly comparable" to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA's advisory panel and vaccine expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Unlike the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine candidate does not to be stored in freezers and remains stable for months in refrigerated temperatures.
In the United States, over 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, according to the AP. Nearly 20 million Americans have now received both doses.
Around 3 to 4 million doses of the new vaccine are expected to be shipped out next week if the drug receives emergency-use approval from the FDA. The company has pledged to deliver some 20 million doses by April and 100 million by late June.
Approval may come as early as this weekend.