The US has now approved its third vaccine, with the J&J jab joining Pfizer and Moderna in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
“The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for Covid-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the United States,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement late on Saturday.
Unlike most of the anti-coronavirus solutions already present in the market, the J&J jab comes in a single-dose form, making its distribution considerably easier. It can also be stored in regular refrigerators, while both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require extremely low temperatures to prevent spoiling.
The pharma giant unveiled the results of the vaccine’s late-stage trials last month. The J&J shot demonstrated rather modest efficacy, averaging 66 percent. It has been tested across several countries and showed mixed results ranging from 72 percent in the United States to a mere 57 percent in South Africa.
Johnson & Johnson submitted its vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) last week, seeking approval for its emergency use on the international field. The authorization would give the company the option to join the COVAX program, led by the UN’s health watchdog.
So far, the J&J vaccine has only seen action in South Africa, after the country hastily searched for new options when its mass vaccination campaign stalled. South Africa began its immunization drive early in February, using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The process, however, was halted just a few days after its start, due to a limited-scope study that suggested the shot fared extremely poorly against the local extra-contagious Covid-19 variant.