The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that works with just one dose instead of two, reports The Associated Press.
The FDA said J&J's vaccine offers strong protection against serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 percent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness.
The authorization comes several days after the FDA announced that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has met the requirements for emergency use.
On Sunday, a US advisory committee will meet to recommend how to prioritize use of the single-dose vaccine.
In addition to the fact that J&J vaccine is single-dose, it is also easier to handle, lasting three months in the refrigerator compared to the Pfizer and Moderna options which must be frozen.
J&J also is studying a two-dose version of its vaccine, but results will not be available for several more months.
US President Joe Biden on Saturday night welcomed the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Today, after a rigorous, open, and objective scientific review process, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a third safe and effective vaccine to help us defeat the COVID-19 pandemic — the Janssen COVID-19 (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. This is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis,” he said in a statement.
“We know that the more people get vaccinated, the faster we will overcome the virus, get back to our friends and loved ones, and get our economy back on track. Thanks to the brilliance of our scientists, the resilience of our people, and the eagerness of Americans in every community to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated, we are moving in the right direction. I look forward to speaking more about today’s news and updating the American people on our progress this coming week.”
“But I want to be clear: this fight is far from over. Though we celebrate today’s news, I urge all Americans — keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing masks. As I have said many times, things are still likely to get worse again as new variants spread, and the current improvement could reverse. My Administration will not make the mistake of taking this threat lightly, or just assuming the best: that’s why we need the American Rescue Plan to keep this fight going in the months ahead.”
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable. We must continue to remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively, and look out for one another — that is how we are going to reach that light together,” concluded Biden.