One More COVID-19 Vaccine Up For FDA Authorization

A new COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). On Friday, it was agreed upon by a national advisory board to authorize this vaccine for adults. 

The other two COVID-19 vaccines are currently offered by Pfizer-BioNTech and  Moderna. This has reached over 46 million people since December.   The new J&J vaccine would be the third COVID-19 vaccine in the USA.

One More COVID-19 Vaccine Up For FDA Authorization

The committee members confirmed that all three vaccines were equally effective. All of them were assured to be safe to be taken. ‘People need not worry which vaccine is better, stated Dr. Cody Meissner, the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston. 

One More COVID-19 Vaccine Up For FDA Authorization

One of the committee members, and Dean of the Chicago Medical School, Dr. Archana Chatterjee said that she thought that the authorization of this J&J COVID-19 vaccine will help meet the need of the hour. An epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Dr. Arnold Monto, who is also the committee’s acting chair added, ‘In this environment, whatever you can get, get’.

The J&J COVID-19 vaccine has many advantages over the other two vaccines. The J&J COVID-19 vaccine is founded on a more established technology than the other two existing ones. It makes use of a harmless virus to send a protein into the human system. If the virus causing COVID-19 enters the body, this protein trains the immune system to attack it.

The new vaccine entails only one shot, not two. This is claimed to give protection faster. The company is continuing to study a possible two-dose regimen to evaluate if it might improve the vaccine’s effectiveness.

It is also possible to store this vaccine longer in a refrigerator. This makes it easier to deliver the vaccine to regions that do not have access to pharmaceutical-grade freezers. 

The J&J vaccine is claimed to have fewer side effects. However, it also has one disadvantage: lower effectiveness. The vaccine was shown to be 72% effective in the USA in a large trial that was conducted. The effectiveness was also found to be lower among people over 60 years old, who had multiple medical issues. In contrast, the effectiveness of the vaccines by both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech was demonstrated to be higher than 94%, last year. Despite this, their effectiveness is expected to be reduced with the arrival of new variants.

‘The rapid spread of the variants has substantially increased the need for safe, more effective vaccines to be made available to the public’, said Dr. Jay Portnoy, a pediatric immunologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and one of the members of the advisory committee. He added saying that it was great we’re able to have this new vaccine, as the country was in a race with the coronavirus mutating fast, and new variants causing more severe infection.

A committee acting as advisory to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planned to meet this Sunday and Monday. One of the agendas is to discuss the J&J vaccine and suggest how it must be used. This has to be examined because of the vaccine’s distinct characteristics.

An infectious disease expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Eric Rubin, who is also the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine admitted that it was still a little challenging to know the best way to use this new vaccine, as there were several open questions about it.

It is not yet certain whether the new J&J vaccine will be added to the broader pool of COVID-19 vaccines or if it will be decided by governments to utilize it differently. The general public is not likely to get a chance to choose the vaccine they want to take.

The J&J vaccine might soon start rolling out in the US by next week if the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees to authorize its release.

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