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U.S. FDA authorizes J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. regulators authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use Saturday – one day after a panel of outside experts backed the one-shot immunization.

Now that it has the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration, J&J plans to ship three to four million doses next week.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden, pledged to quickly distribute J&J’s vaccine pending its approval.

"We have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it.”

More than 50 million vaccine shots have been administered nationwide – a point Biden highlighted as the halfway point of his goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days after taking office.

Distribution of J&J’s vaccine is a lot easier than those already available in the U.S. made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Its vaccine can be stored in normal refrigerator temperatures instead of ultra-cold storage. And it’s the only one that requires just a single shot.

A trial found that J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate-to-severe cases of COVID-19. And it was 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations 28 days after vaccination.

The company is developing a second-generation vaccine that would target the more transmissible South African variant. It plans to start Phase 1 trials by this summer.