By Jada Harrison, Staff Writer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. This will become the third vaccine to be approved after Pfiezer and Moderna. A panel of experts from the FDA unanimously voted to approve the vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 26.
The emergency-use authorization will be distributed to people 18 years or older, while also rapidly increasing the availability of the vaccine because it requires one shot. Pfiezer requires two doses to be taken 21 days apart, which has been a difficulty for many people trying to get the vaccine.
“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,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a release statement.
Johnson and Johnson submitted their application to the FDA on Feb. 4, and one dose was shown to be 77 percent effective against a severe COVID-19 case in a massive study which spanned across three continents. The company said that their plan is to deliver 10 million doses to the U.S. and increase that to 100 million by the summer.
The vaccine effectiveness rate raises concerns for students such as junior nursing major Jahaila Harley.
“Effectiveness of a drug is vital and this vaccine being at a lower rate than the other two that are available does not seem to be in the best interest of the public,” she said. “The main goal of drug development is effectiveness and safety.”
Harley does believe however people will be more inclined to choose the Johnson and Johnson vaccine over the Moderna and Pfiezer options.
“I think because Johnson & Johnson is such a trusted household name, many people will feel more willing to get this one,” she said. “For those who are still skeptical I would tell them it’s only normal to feel hesitant since COVID-19 has only been publicized for one year. However, just like every other sickness and disease over the years, doctors and scientists have dedicated their time and knowledge to aid the public and prevent more deaths. Vaccines have been effective for other diseases and infections which even from a child have been administered to us. We have trusted those, let us now trust science and technology once more because things and time change.”
President Joe Biden announced on March 2 that because of the help by manufacturer Merck & Co., there will be enough vaccines available for the entire U.S. adult population by May.