Another COVID-19 vaccine is likely to hit the scene in the coming weeks, hopefully hastening the day when the nation (and world) can get on the other side of this horrendous pandemic.
The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis on Wednesday that confirms a single-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson protects against the coronavirus, according to a report from CBS News.
The analysis is expected to inform a decision by the FDA this Friday on whether to issue emergency use authorization allowing the new vaccine to be administered to members of the public.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine differs from those by Pfizer and Moderna, which are already in circulation across the country, in that it only requires one dose instead of two. However, the vaccine is only 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of the coronavirus, compared to the Moderna and Pfizer inoculations, which are both over 94 percent effective.
From CBS News:
J&J tested its single-dose option in 44,000 people in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. Because different mutated versions of the virus are circulating in different countries, researchers analyzed the results geographically. J&J previously announced the vaccine worked better in the U.S. — 72% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19, compared with 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.
Still, in every country it was highly effective against the most serious symptoms, and early study results showed no hospitalizations or deaths starting 28 days after vaccination.
While the overall effectiveness numbers may suggest the J&J candidate isn’t quite as strong as two-dose competitors, all of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines have been tested differently, making comparisons nearly impossible.
Still, having more vaccines—vaccines that have been trial tested and evaluated by scientists, of course—is a net positive. Only 13.4 percent of the American population have received a dose of the vaccines now available, and less than half of them have received the second dose necessary to be protected against COVID-19. Black people, and every other group of color, lag behind white Americans who make up the vast majority of people who have been vaccinated according to the CDC’s data.
Johnson & Johnson says it can deliver four million doses of its single-dose vaccine to the U.S. immediately after receiving FDA authorization, and can have 20 million doses available by the end of March.