United States Begins Distribution of Third COVID-19 Vaccine
Doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be received as early as March 2.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration over the weekend and the process of distributing the vaccine around the country has already begun.
Nearly 3.9 million doses of the J&J vaccine will be distributed to states around the country, a senior Biden administration official said on Sunday. The doses could be delivered as early as Tuesday morning.
The J&J vaccine has shown a 72 percent efficacy rate against mild to severe/critical disease amount U.S. trial participants. It is more effective against severe forms of disease, with about 85 percent protection.
Health experts say Americans should not be deterred by J&J's slightly lower numbers. Its vaccine was tested later than the other two vaccines, when infections were already surging and new variant strains were spreading more widely.
There are advantages to the new J&J vaccine. The vaccine requires the recipient to have to take just one shot, rather than have to return for a second dose at a later time.
In addition to the convenient distribution method, the vaccine does not need to be kept in a freezer and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures.
The single-dose shot comes at a critical time in this pandemic. The country had been in a steady decline of cases for weeks, but the numbers have since plateaued, leaving experts to wonder if highly contagious variants could take hold of U.S. citizens, making the path to victory against this pandemic more lengthy and chaotic.
Dr. Eric Rubin, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health described America’s COVID-19 situation as urgent.
“Because there are new viral variants coming out right now, with some chance that some of them could eventually become somewhat resistant to the protection provided by vaccines it is really important to get [the J&J vaccine] out there fast,” Dr. Rubin said.