Michael Cardinal, FISM News
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Saturday, providing one more tool in the US fight against COVID-19. The Johnson and Johnson variant joins Pfizer and Moderna as the third vaccine approved for use in the United States.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine only needs one shot for full inoculation and can be kept for 3 months at normal refrigeration temperatures. This differs from Pfizer which needs to be frozen and the Moderna vaccine which will only last for one month when refrigerated. These differences will enable millions of Americans to receive the vaccine more easily. The US approval is likely to pave the way for the vaccine to be approved in other countries as well, where these benefits will be crucial for ease of distribution.
The vaccine also differs in the way it works as the J&J vaccine utilizes a more traditional viral vector method, while the other two use new messenger RNA technology. Another positive is that this variant has shown less side effects, partly due to the fact that only one dose is needed. Many recipients of the Pfizer and Moderna variant have reported fevers and other mild side effects following the second injection.
Experts are concerned, however, that some may see this vaccine as inferior, since it only has a 72 percent efficacy rate. Yet, the shot has proven to be effective where it matters most, boasting an 85 percent efficacy rate against severe forms of the virus and 100 percent efficacy rate against hospitalization and death.
“We believe that people should take the vaccine they are able to access,” the FDA’s acting commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said in a call after the authorization, noting the three vaccines had not been studied head-to-head.” We feel that each of these vaccines will be effective, will prevent hospitalization, deaths and should be used,” she added.
The US government has ordered 100 million vaccines from J&J which should be available as early as Tuesday for use.