The Trump era's Operation Warp Speed is the gift that keeps on giving. On Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Johnson & Johnson's Wuhan coronavirus vaccine, making it the third coronavirus vaccine approved in the United States.
The agency's emergency-use approval comes one day after an advisory panel for the FDA recommended drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's vaccine candidate for approval.
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is 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.
Around 3 to 4 million doses of the new vaccine are expected to be shipped out as early as next week. The company has pledged to deliver some 20 million doses by April and 100 million by late June.