A US expert panel on Friday, February 26, endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Also, the FDA is expected to make a final decision soon. This comes after the regulators analysed the vaccine and came up with the conclusion that the single-dose vaccine "offers strong protection" against the deadly coronavirus. The analysis was termed as the ‘first step’ in FDA’s evaluation.
Once the FDA approves, J&J’s shot will become the third vaccine authorized for emergency use in the US. After a discussion that lasted for almost one day, the FDA panelists voted unanimously that the benefits of the vaccine 'outweighed the risks for adults'. Further, the shipment can begin by Monday, March 1, if the FDA agrees. As per the analysis, the shot offers the nation a third vaccine option and also helps in speeding up the vaccination process. The FDA researchers have confirmed that overall the vaccine is 66 per cent effective. They also said that it is 85 per cent effective against severe illness, claiming that the J&J shot is safe.
During the analysis, the J&J shot was tested on 44,000 adults in the US, Latin America and South Africa. The analysis cautioned that it is still not clear how well the vaccine works against the different variants of coronavirus. However, it was concluded that the vaccine worked better in the US as it is 77 per cent effective against moderate to severe COVID-19 infections. In Latin America, it is 66 per cent and 57 per cent in South Africa.
A vaccine expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who is also a part of the FDA advisory panel that will scrutinize the J&J data, Dr Paul Offit encouraged that one dose of the J&J vaccine appears as good at preventing serious illness as the other two-dose vaccines. He said, "This is a vaccine to prevent you from going to the hospital and dying at a level that’s certainly comparable” to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines". Dr Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former FDA vaccine chief said, "I was reassured” that despite different variants, the J&J shot was still protected against serious illness". He said, "That’s pretty robust data”.