The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for emergency use on Saturday, a move that medical experts are calling "a big, big deal."
Johnson and Johnson's vaccine requires only one dose, as opposed to the two doses required by both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The new vaccine also can be kept at standard refrigerator temperatures.
"It's been such a challenge to get even a single dose to many people," Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, said. "Signing up for a second one, keeping track of that, getting transportation, it's just a huge barrier for many Americans and then of course in harder-to-reach places, including rural America, it's just been a huge logistical challenge."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon vote on whether the vaccine should be approved for distribution.
"To have a third vaccine that meets the expectations of an (emergency use authorization) for safety and effectiveness at preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19 brings us one step closer to protecting the American public, staying ahead of concerning viral variants, and finding our way out of the pandemic," National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement.
On Friday, the FDA's vaccine advisory panel voted 22-0 to approve Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use, as well as distribution and administration nationwide.