The Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee has voted to recommend an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine. If the vaccine is granted final approval by the FDA and the CDC, it will be the third vaccine available in the United States.
Earlier in the week, the FDA said that clinical trial data showed that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 infections. The efficacy of the vaccine against moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 was 66.9% after 14 days and dropped slightly to 66.1% after 28 days. The vaccine also provided "modest" protection against asymptomatic infections after the first month. After 71 days, the effectiveness of the vaccines against asymptomatic infections was at 74%.
While Johnson & Johnson's vaccine isn't as effective as the ones manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, it gives the U.S. another weapon in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The FDA is expected to follow the panel's recommendation and could grant the vaccine an emergency use authorization as early as Friday night. On Sunday, a panel of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to decide if the vaccine can be distributed across the country. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will be then be given the final say over approving the vaccine.
If the vaccine is granted approval from the FDA and CDC, it could begin getting shipped out across the country early next week. The federal government expects to have up to four million doses available on the first day. The pharmaceutical company is planning to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses by the end of June.
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