- Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine may be authorized for emergency use by the FDA within two weeks.
- The new one-dose vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.
- The US is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as it can in light of a more contagious COVID-19 mutation from South Africa.
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine could receive an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA within the next two weeks, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. As the race to vaccinate the country continues, a new supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson could be crucial in stopping the spread of more contagious COVID strains from the UK and South Africa.
“The J&J data right now, that we discussed last week, is being reviewed with the FDA right now,” Fauci said earlier this week. “So we could see literally within a week or so that they wind up getting the kind of emergency use authorization. I don’t want to get ahead of the FDA, but I would not be surprised… if this happens within the next week or two.”
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In clinical trials, Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of the coronavirus. Notably, the efficacy rate jumps significantly higher with respect to solely preventing severe COVID-19 cases.
While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine isn’t as effective as the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, it has its own advantages. For starters, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires the administration of a single dose as opposed to the two-dose vaccine schedule demanded by Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines. Second, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine doesn’t need to be stored with specialized refrigeration equipment.
Taken together, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should it be granted an EUA, will be an integral part of the United States’ effort to vaccinate an overwhelming majority of the population. The vaccination effort is all the more important today in light of more contagious COVID strains from the UK and South Africa which have already been discovered in the US. Even more worrisome is that the South African strain in particular was found to be more resistant to existing COVID vaccines than the original strain.
Addressing the issue of coronavirus mutations, Dr. Fauci on Monday stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as a means to prevent transmission and, in turn, additional mutations.
“You need to get vaccinated when it becomes available as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country,” Fauci said. “And the reason for that is because viruses cannot mutate if they don’t replicate. And if you stop their replication by vaccinating widely and not giving the virus an open playing field to continue to respond to the pressures that you put on it, you will not get mutations.