The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Saturday — a move that likely will result in shots of the vaccine being given in New Jersey in the next few days.
The announcement is all but certain to have a dramatic impact on the ability to vaccinate — and, thus, the ability to get back to a sense of normalcy — because of the ease-of-use.
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The fact the shot only needs to be given once — and that the vaccine can be stored at regular refrigeration temperatures — should greatly expedite its delivery.
Assuming the vaccine is available in great quantities.
On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he was told the state would be receiving 70,000 doses in the first week.
J&J has said it would aim to deliver about 20 million doses for U.S. use by the end of March, which may be enough to boost the countrywide capacity for completed vaccinations by about 20%.
New Jersey, plagued by the small rollout of vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, has set a goal of having 70% of the population vaccinated by Memorial Day. And, while both Pfizer and Moderna are making efforts to increase production, that goal will not be reached unless an enormous amount of the J&J vaccine is manufactured and distributed.
While some have questioned the efficacy of the J&J vaccine — it’s 66.1% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease, far lower than the 94% rate of Pfizer and Moderna — health experts have said it is safe and effective and will go a long way to creating the herd immunity goal of the state and country.
Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Brunswick and has been an iconic New Jersey company for generations.