Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) - Get Report one-shot coronavirus vaccine was cleared for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, making it the third vaccine authorized in the U.S. to combat the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the disease that has killed more than 511,000 Americans.
The FDA granted emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine for people 18 and older.
An FDA advisory panel said earlier this week that the benefits of the vaccine from the New Brunswick, N.J., healthcare giant outweighed any potential risks.
“We’re in a race between the virus mutating - new variants coming out that could cause further disease - and stopping it,” Jay Portnoy, director of the division of allergy, asthma and immunology at Children’s Mercy Hospital, told Bloomberg. “We need to get this vaccine out.”
The J&J vaccine joins two other vaccines that previously were authorized as two-shot treatments - a vaccine from Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report and another from Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report and its German partner BioNTech (BNTX) - Get Report.
J&J has said it can deliver about 20 million doses of its vaccine in the U.S. by March 31.
Biden administration officials said in the coming week that J&J was prepared to ship 3 million to 4 million doses of the vaccine.
J&J's doses can be stored in a standard refrigerator for long periods, as opposed to the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer that must be stored in ultra-cold conditions.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was found in a large trial to be 72% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were about 94% to 95%.
So far, more than 70.5 million doses of vaccine have been given in the United States as of Friday, according to Bloomberg.