FDA gives thumbs up to J&J vaccine

The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine could provide a major boost to vaccination efforts.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday gave emergency use authorization to a brand new vaccine to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

What It Is: The new vaccine is developed by Johnson & Johnson and has several advantages over the two vaccines that are already in use in the U.S.

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First, the J&J vaccine requires only one shot to be effective. This could be a major boon to vaccination efforts, which currently require follow-up appointments to complete.

Second, the J&J vaccine can be stored in standard cold storage facilities. The previous vaccines must be stored at ultra-low temperatures that aren’t feasible for many small medical facilities.

There is one downside: The J&J vaccine isn’t estimated to be as effective as the previous two vaccines. While those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are estimated to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, J&J’s vaccine is only between 66% and 72% effective.

What Happens Next: It is unclear how soon doses of the J&J vaccine could make it into the arms of people in Kalamazoo County.

The federal government has committed to purchasing 100 million doses in the first half of 2021, but it will take time for that amount to be produced. The company expects to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March.

It also isn’t certain which parts of the state will get doses first. Due to its relatively low transportation and storage requirements, officials may recommend the vaccine go first to rural areas without the ability to maintain the other two vaccines.

Even if doses are sent to Kalamazoo County, it could be weeks before that happens. It took almost a week for inoculations to begin following the approvals of the previous vaccines.

You can read more on Washington Post.

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