FDA approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use

Ava Wittman, News Editor

A third vaccine has been approved for emergency use within the United States.

The previous authorizations of both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines brought a great sense of relief to many worldwide; that feeling continues with the recent authorization of a third vaccine in the United States: the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the vaccine approval for emergency use on Feb. 27, but only for people 18 and older. However, in March they announced that they would begin trials on children and have hopes that the vaccine will be available to children by September. 

The United States is only the second nation to approve the vaccine and has a deal with J&J for 100 million doses that the company claims will all be delivered by June. 

Unlike Moderna and Pfizer, which both require an individual to receive two doses of the vaccine several weeks apart, J&J’s vaccine only requires one dose to be administered for immunization. The vaccine has a rated efficacy of 72 percent, although some sources say 85 percent efficacy in terms of preventing severe cases, which is lower than Pfizer’s 95 percent efficacy and Moderna’s 94.5 percent efficacy. Some officials speculate that there may be fewer side effects from the J&J vaccine. Yet, as experts will tell you, any vaccination one can get their hands on nowadays is probably one they want to get. 

However, the one-shot style of the vaccine does not make it instantaneous. An individual receiving their vaccine would still have to wait several weeks before reaching maximum protection. 

The vaccine has sparked conversation as it is different from the two previous vaccines that have gained approval, and there are concerns about its lower efficacy. The thought among medical experts seems to be that it is a third vaccination in the United States, which could be the best option for many people, and therefore is a cause for celebration.