Health Experts Explain Impact of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

An FDA panel has unanimously supported Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, a major step toward emergency approval

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After a Friday hearing, an independent panel recommended that the FDA move forward in approving the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson says its trials show the vaccine is 72% effective in the United States in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infections.

It does not need to be stored in frigid temperatures and it's only one dose.

"You just give them that one injection, you don't have to sit down and schedule that second visit, and the cold chain doesn't have to be maintained," said Professor Ann Sheehy, an expert in viruses and immunology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. "Another vaccine in the mix is going to make getting everybody vaccinated that we need to be vaccinated much easier and faster."

Now that the independent panel has made a positive recommendation, the FDA will need to vote to grant authorization of the vaccine which could happen soon.

Still, it will take a while for vaccine supply to really be impacted.

In the meantime, health experts say coronavirus guidelines will be sticking around.

"People, I think, have been largely patient in Massachusetts, and I think they're going to need to not only be patient, but they need to be aware this is not a free pass," said Professor Kathleen Carey, a health economist at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Life is not going back to normal."

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