An advisory panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Sunday to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s widespread use of the coronavirus vaccine, with US regulators giving Saturday a final approval for the shot after it was authorized.
State and local public health officials will use the Food and Drug Administration and CDC guidance as they administer the first 4 million doses. The federal government, through its distribution partner, McKesson Corp, plans to ship the first shots on Sunday night or Monday morning.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has played a major role in directing states how to allocate rare doses, although states themselves have stated how they allocate shots.
One of the panelists said during a presentation on Sunday that there had been no study yet comparing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine directly with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc. Other approved vaccines are being used, but all vaccines were highly effective at reducing hospital and deaths.
The panelists also stated that there was insufficient data to know whether the safety or efficacy of the vaccine could be compromised by pre-existing conditions that weaken a person’s immune system.
Johnson & Johnson’s shot will be the only one-dose coronavirus vaccine available in the US. It is also the easiest to ship and store, as it can be stored in a refrigerator instead of a freezer.
Johnson & Johnson expects to have more than 20 million doses by March and 100 million by midyear, enough to vaccinate about a third of Americans.