UNITED States yesterday recommended the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as highly effective in preventing severe cases, including newer variants.
Disclosing this, a documents released by the US Food and Drug Administration said regulators were set to convene an independent panel that will likely vote to authorise the vaccine today.
This makes the vaccine the third available in the country hit hardest by the pandemic.
In large clinical trials, the J&J vaccine’s efficacy against severe disease was 85.9 percent in the United States, 81.7 percent in South Africa, and 87.6 percent in Brazil.
Overall, among 39,321 participants across all regions, the efficacy against severe COVID-19 was 85.4 percent, but it fell to 66.1 percent when including moderate forms of the disease.
Analyses of different demographic groups revealed no marked differences across age, race, or people with underlying conditions with the vaccine generally well-tolerated, without reports of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) which have been seen in rare cases for other brands.
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients, told reporters that if authorised, the federal government would seek to distribute three to four million doses next week.
He also said that a third vaccine is a vital means to ramp up the immunisation rate in United States, where more than 500,000 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus.
It will be recalled that over 65 million people in America have so far received at least one shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines — but unlike those, the J&J vaccine requires just one dose, and is stored at fridge temperatures.